One giant unifying roof gently descends to form the walls of the Kericho Cathedral in Kenya. John McAslan + Partners designed the building to have the widest possible nave for the congregation led by the Most Reverend Bishop Emmanuel Okombo. The completed project maximizes the congregation’s engagement with the ceremonies and provide multiple access points from the landscaped terraces and gardens.
The Cathedral was built in 2015, some 155 miles south-west of Nairobi, for a congregation of 1,500 people. Its inclined roof was a result from Bishop Emmanuel’s requirement to have a space which would maximize the capacity of the interior and focus all visual connection to one area. The space opens completely along both transepts to facilitate natural ventilation and provide multiple exit points onto the terraces and gardens that extend to meet the rolling panorama of Kericho’s hills and valleys.
The design references African and ecclesiastical historic heritage. With the exception of a few accents, all the materials, including the Cypress timber, were locally sourced. Finger-jointed Cypress timber slats make up the ceiling, while the granite sourced from Kenya dominates the sanctuary. The structure was built using construction methods specific to Kenya, and designed to optimize the use of natural lighting and ventilation while reducing maintenance costs.
Photos by Edmund Sumner