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  3. Cathedral
  4. Kenya
  5. John McAslan + Partners
  6. 2015
  7. Sacred Heart Cathedral of Kericho / John McAslan + Partners

Sacred Heart Cathedral of Kericho / John McAslan + Partners

  • 03:00 - 28 November, 2016
Sacred Heart Cathedral of Kericho / John McAslan + Partners
Sacred Heart Cathedral of Kericho  / John McAslan + Partners, © Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

© Edmund Sumner © Edmund Sumner © Edmund Sumner © Edmund Sumner +14

  • Executive Architect

    Triad Architects
  • Ltd
Contractor

    Esteel Construction
  • Ltd
Multi Disciplinary Engineers

    Arup (UK)

  • Structural Engineers

    Eng Plan (Kenya)

  • Electrical and Mechanical Engineering

    EAMS (Kenya)

  • QS

    Barker and Barton (Kenya)

  • Furniture Design

    Studio Propilis (Kenya)

  • Stained Glass and Artwork

    John Clark, Glasspainter (Germany)
  • Client

    Diocese of Kericho

  • More SpecsLess Specs
© Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

From the architect. Completed at the end of 2015, Kericho Cathedral is located in Kenya, approximately 250km South-West 
of Nairobi. It lies within the Highlands, west of the Great Rift Valley, enjoying magni cent views across tea plantations and surrounding hills. The Diocese was established in 1995 with a growing congregation and is led by the Most Reverend Bishop Emmanuel Okombo.

Site Plan
Site Plan

The Cathedral’s design creates a unique and sacred place for a congregation of 1,500 seated celebrants participating in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Mass under one giant unifying roof. The strikingly inclined roof and its ascending interior volume - over 1,375 square metres in size - are the key characteristics behind its design.

© Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

Bishop Emmanuel was particularly concerned to widen the nave as it approaches the altar to maximise the congregation’s engagement with the celebration of the Mass and its climax, the Act of Communion. It opens completely along both transepts to promote natural ventilation and allow the congregation to leave the building at multiple points and expand onto the landscaped terraces and gardens.

© Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

The aspiration was to create a structure that integrated seamlessly with its landscape setting, in both aesthetic and functional terms. The Cathedral’s tiled-roof is now a distinctive form in the rolling panorama of Kericho’s hills and valleys.

© Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

The architectural challenge has been to ensure Kericho Cathedral embodied the Catholic liturgy and embraced its local congregation in a way that serves the Faith and the special qualities of its location and community. We believe our response is distinctive and universally welcoming.

Section
Section
Section
Section

The ascending vaulted volume contained under a vast roof fuses African and ecclesiastically historic references. Care has been taken to shape the Cathedral’s space and express the building’s structure - the stone plinth, simply articulated, arched concrete frames and timber-ribbed vaulting are exposed in a strikingly crafted and honest manner.

© Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

The building’s simple palette of natural materials honours the faith and frugality of this rural African community. With the exception of the glass sheets used by the stained-glass artist, all the materials, including the Cypress timber (grown in Kericho), which was used for the ceiling, doors and furniture, and the clay tiles in the roof, were locally resourced and fabricated. The ceiling was constructed from finger-jointed Cypress timber slats, designed to accommodate the high range of humidity of the local environment.

© Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

The granite used for the sanctuary was sourced from Kenya, and the soap stone used for the statues was sourced from the town of Kisii, located south of Kericho. The ooring was laid from the machine- cut Nairobi Blue stone.

© Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

The practice has been committed to the involvement of skilled artisan trades and the improvement of local skills throughout the construction period. Some of these skills were used in the artwork situated in and around the Cathedral such as the striking mosaic on display. In addition the use of craft skills has assisted in the design of the ecclesiastical pattern for the roof which was designed by John Clark and was installed by local labourers.

Ground Floor
Ground Floor

The complex geometry of the building was accommodated by an in-situ construction method specific to Kenya. The size of each structural frame required a complex pouring system for the concrete. The building’s cladding material was carefully selected as washed terrazzo, known for its self-cleaning attributes and was applied by hand. The Nairobi blue stone cladding of the podium was hand-dressed and fixed by local masons.

© Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

Buildability and the use of available local resources were key drivers for Kericho Cathedral. The project is designed to operate with modest energy, using natural daylight and few maintenance requirements. Its major impact in sustainability terms is therefore the materials with which it has been constructed, and the way they have been procured and managed through the construction process. Another key ambition was to minimise energy use, and consequently, reduce the building’s maintenance cost and obligations.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Sacred Heart Cathedral of Kericho / John McAslan + Partners" 28 Nov 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/800179/sacred-heart-cathedral-of-kericho-john-mcallen-plus-partners/>
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