A special exhibition on the works of the late Czech architect Antonín Raymond, who built the renowned Church of the Angry Christ (St. Joseph the Worker Church) in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, was recently launched in the distinguished Jaroslav Fragner Gallery in Prague. The foremost architect is also known as the founder of modern architecture in Japan.
Dubbed by the CCP Encyclopedia as the first ever sample of modern sacral architecture in the Philippines, the Church of the Angry Christ was built by Raymond from 1948 to 1950, and featured earthquake resistant construction and sustainability to the tropical climate.
Home to the iconic and unique mural of the so-called “Angry Christ” by Alfonso Ossorio, the church is an epitome of the vibrancy of religious art in the Philippines. Its facades are also decorated with mosaics by Belgian artist Ade Bethune.
After its completion, the Church of the Angry Christ has become the artistic landmark of the whole of Western Visayas, attracting tourism to this otherwise rarely visited part of Negros.
It is Raymond’s on ly work in the Philippines.
Czech Ambassador Jaroslav Olša shared, “The exhibition in Fragner Gallery in Prague will focus on only 7 of Raymond’s best architectural works—among them is the Church of the Angry Christ.”
The exhibit is opened in Prague untik December 6, continuing to other cities of the country, as well as Japan.
For his part, Jan Vytopil, deputy head of the Mission of the Czech Embassy in Manila, said, “Raymond’s studio is still active in Japan nowadays. The exhibition was opened by the chief architect of Raymond’s office and once his disciple, architect Shigefumi R. Tsuchiya.”
The spectacular exhibit shows his work on models, photographs, plans, sketches as well as his personal objects from private collections.
Born and studied in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), Raymond is a Czech architect who later worked in the USA and Japan.
He served as the Consul of Czechoslovakia to Japan from 1926 to 1939—the year Czech diplomacy was closed down after the occupation of the European country by the Nazi Germany. Raymond’s Czech family did not survive the occupation and the subsequent Holocaust.
Raymond’s initial work with the famous American architects Cass Gilbert and Frank Lloyd Wright gave him an insight into the use of concrete for texture and structure that he would refine throughout his six-decade career.
At studio practices based in New Hope, Pennsylvania and Tokyo, he explored traditional Japanese building techniques combined with the latest American building innovations. He applied these principles to a wide range of residential, commercial, religious and institutional projects in Japan, America, India and the Philippines. He became one of the first architects using reinforced concrete for his buildings.
The exhibition was supported by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Manila.