We have happy moments in life ,but happy building or buildings which make us happy?
I was very happy kid when I first time attend to Sunday service at Horana church.
I have no idea who design this place or what it call church but I do remember one thing,that was very feeling of freedom space to run over one end to the other.this church was known as air craft because of the shape .
As an architect student later I came to know it was not air craft the arch.Velantine Gunasekara 's concept behind this was a giant bird who is looking towards the other mountain.
However it was not about the form it was the feeling I experienced ,the openness,stunning unobstructed view.the monsoon wind which cleansed both our soul and the mind.
Believe me I was very very small,this was even before 1990 but still I feel it like yesterday....
Of course I was very happy to go there.Every Sunday I was counting dates to be honest it s not about the faith to the god,it is about the feeling of that place.
the plan form of the building.
We played hide and seek with this soft curve walls.walls. Damith,Madhura,Subhani we all enjoyed playing there.
the massive roof structure which always made to think that someone always above me.
Horan church actually name was St .Martin's DE Porres' but all known as " Gal edadugoda palliya" . Gal the meaning in Sinhalese was stone.Sri lankans those who really good in Sinhalese may aware of it the other meaning , I m sure here it is only meant boulders or stones., of course there are lot of boulders.Still,Arch.Velantine Gunasekara nicely had manipulated those boulders as a part of the church.
Arch.Velantine Gunasekara and his wife.
By the time I went to the church those benches were not there.The Parrish council by that time had decided the benches are not comfortable enough to get close with the God. By that time benches had turn into long chairs with back rest...But still the place was open like this.
The view of the paddy fields and still remaining boulders at site.
Things were happy at those days,but then eventually I became a teenager,who was extremely confuse,nothing matter to me except looking for a boy friend,During the Sunday mass I was out of luck.I guess the X- factor of my was not strong enough,ended up me being very confused,no body is playing hide and seek anymore,Sri Lankan girls after the first period happens they become completely different but except me.
Simply I was not fitting to the church.....
But It s not only me that feel not fitting to the church..Even people who come to Sunday Mass started complains.
The monsoon,the wind the openness has become a barrier to connect with the god during the mass.
Even the father not to mention the name ,but said it s very difficult to have the Sunday mass during the rain.Sri Lanka ,this is a tropical country we have heavy monsoons over three to four months. Apparently new father does not want to get disturb by rain during the Sunday service.
Newly elected Parrish council decided to have special meeting ,on that matter.A genius Parrish Council member had suggested to cover the entire building with black glass windows with aluminium frame.
Everybody agreed on this brilliant idea.What next A raffle ticket for fund raising.
The ten commandments were written on a top of mountain,while Mosses was busy with writing ten commandments people did what the want ended up giving the biggest disappointment to the God.
People were not changing still,while the raffle ticket processing ,there were conflict among the Parrish council members.
It s not a major issue ,Just that someone wanted to become honest than the other..Imagine when you collect money and when there is no proper audit on it...
Even with all these debates there were Christmas,Easter Friday, of course I was not happy at going to church now.
I had a feeling that father does not like me at all,simply because I started skip the Sunday Mass most of the time I sneaked off and started lean against a boulder.Actually father put me in to a some work but I was not enthusiastic.
Some how with all these nonsense they finished covering the Church completely with Aluminium windows.I do remember after one Sunday service there was a demonstration how to open sliding Aluminium Windoors.
It was kind of new thing instead of timber frames.
Of courses now we don't get disturb during the monsoon,While there is no God we have the view which is now equally divided into rectangles.
There is no rain,but thanks to the black win-doors inside always feel it s raining outside.
The funny thing is even though it looked outside raining people did not want to stay much.As the moment Father finished the they want to push each other and get the hell out of the church.
I realized to know that happened as soon as father ended his Sunday mass the care taker of the church turned off the fan. Everybody was sweating they wanted to get out to breath freely..
Now the happiness of the building going little by little away.Regular church ladies are bit worried there is no place to Gossip.Sunday mass is over,door doors were locked,fans lights switched off,everybody go home.
I stopped going to church at all.Now actually i got frustrated when i go to church.
The entry door is locked.everybody out of the church premises with 15 minutes after the Sunday mass.
Also there were new members after the renovation work,they don' t know how this place used to be even.
I did not go to church for a long time till I become architecture student.One day in a evening I went to church just to see.
The place look like a desert, but there was a nice father,,,That was father Erinton actually I spoke quite a long time a friendly chit chat.He did not ask why I am not coming to the Sunday Mass any more,but he explained nicely why should I come back to church.Actually Horana Church is a Calvary Shrine.
So father Erinton asked me to help on some work.Actually after quiet a long time I felt happy after going to the church,
So Father Erinton said he will talk with Parrish council, I don t need to come even to a single meeting.
We did some Calvary shrine stations ,actually I did design a some crazy steps.It was not major modification,but some little interesting work.
To be very honest the first time I did smoking looking at this statue.....
Oh now I hate smoking.......
The unfortunate thing is happiness never going to be everlasting.Somehow It started deteriorating.
Father Erinton with his pony...He was a great animal lover.
After five years of time Father Erinton was transferred into a church in Negambo,It was on the beach road,Father Erinton was happy,he likes the beach than boulders I think so.
Due to so many reasons I could not go to church at all.But heard there is another fund raising for a major modification.Out of curiosity I went to see what has actually planned.
Hearing what they planing to modify I was not sad...
I was angry....But new father was over confident of what he is planing to do...
He wanted to change the original layout.He wanted to break curve walls which we used to play hide and seek,...I feel it s waste t of time to trying to convince the character of the building or the spatial quality....let them do what they wanted......
Later I saw they were asking donations through social medias.They broke curve walls and two circular chambers,as well they broke my heart into pieces,
After they break the curve walls I went to see,actually they complained about water leakage from walls.A building which is over 40 years water leakage is not a punishable guilty of demolish .But they punished to the building taking it s life out of it.
Instead of curves they they introduced spikes with colored glass.
I don t think that I ever be happy at this place again....
It is sad.....here for me it is sad forever.....
2000 years ago they punished to the son of the God, for being unconventional, for being free, for being honest, we are still worrying about the punishment they gave to him,But again it s God's wish.....
"Forgive them father,they not know what they doing"
- Jesus Christ-