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Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Kericho, Rift Valley, South West of Kenya

Award winning engineering and lighting design

Kericho Cathedral is a unique place of worship in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, North West of Nairobi. The design creates a unique and sacred place for a congregation of 1,250 seated celebrants under one giant unifying roof.

Arup was appointed to provide multidisciplinary engineering services, including specialist input on seismic, acoustics and lighting design. The project team comprised expertise from Arup’s London and Botswana offices, working closely with the local delivery partners in Kenya.

Characterised by a strikingly inclined tiled roof, the structural form of the single volume building is derived from a series of exposed concrete arches which define the interior space. Kericho Cathedral is designed to serve the needs of the community, and integrate seamlessly with its landscape setting, in both aesthetic and functional terms. 

Committed to sustainability

Arup analysed the local climate and data sets to understand the large variations in temperature and light intensity of the equatorial setting and carried out research into the seismicity of the area to inform the structural design. Buildability and the use of available local resources were key drivers of the building design to allow it to operate with modest energy consumption, using natural daylight and ventilation. The simple palette of natural materials, timber, clay tiles, stone and concrete, were sourced and crafted locally for sustainability and contextual integrity.

Structure exposed

The concrete frame is exposed on the interior, with timber slats lining the space between structural arches. In order to achieve the high quality concrete finish, Arup worked closely with the contractor, guiding him through two sample sections of the curved arch until he developed an innovative approach to the formwork design that enabled the structural arches to be cast and struck with clean, sharp edges.

Designing with daylight

Natural light is embedded in the design of the building creating a timeless space for worship and contemplation. The ascending interior volume creates a visual hierarchy towards the altar, illuminated by the shaft of light formed by the full length central skylight.

Kericho Cathedral has been recognised with awards for Arup’s engineering and lighting solutions: