John McAslan + Partners' ‘Sacred Heart Cathedral of Kericho’ accommodates up to 1,500 parishioners beneath its giant canopy roof. Its elevated structure offers sweeping views across the surrounding landscape, including the region’s tea plantations. Its striking design brings together both African and ecclesiastical references.
Externally, the cathedral’s tiled roof forms a distinctive presence in Kericho’s landscape. Internally, the church features a wide nave in order to maximize the congregation’s engagement. The building opens completely along both transepts, promoting natural ventilation and allowing parishioners to leave at multiple exit points.
The building’s structure is expressed using simple geometric forms and a palette of natural materials. The project’s construction materials were locally sourced. Inside the church, arched concrete frames create a dramatic volume that soars upwards. The size of each structural frame required a complex pouring system which was managed perfectly by the Kenyan contractor. The ceiling is constructed from finger-jointed cypress timber slats, while the roof is topped with clay tiles which were cut in a simple pattern to form a symbolic pattern of wheat across the surface of the Cathedral. The building's washed terrazzo cladding was carefully selected for its self-cleaning attributes and applied by hand. The Nairobi blue stone cladding of the podium was hand-dressed and fixed by local masons. Unique artwork, made by local artisans, is integrated into all of the windows, doors, furniture and sacred elements within the building.
Arup is proud to have provided building engineering, lighting and acoustic advice, plus sound system design and tuning.
Local Architect: Triad Architects Lead Artist: John Clark