The Roman Catholic Diocese of Kericho decided to replace its existing building with a new and bigger Cathedral that would seat a congregation of up to 1,500 people. John McAslan & Partners, a London based architect, was appointed by the Client to develop a concept for the building, working with Arup (United Kingdom) as multi-disciplinary engineers. The design was handed over to Triad Architects from Nairobi, working with local structural engineer EngPlan (Kenya), with Arup’s offices in Africa retained to provide advice on the fair-faced concrete frame.
The contractor was required to execute the project using a combination of intuition, trial and error, and research on various formwork and cast-in-situ construction methods’. They were guided by Arup through sample sections of curved arch and practice in the foundations before they embarked upon the first of the 10 frames.
The main concept was to build an inspiring sacred space that would local materials and skills to to achieve long-lasting quality. Construction started in 2012, and the result is an iconic project that sits in sharp contrast with much of the architecture of east Africa.
The cathedral opened in 2015 was built with attention to detail in planning, design and delivery of the construction of the skeleton of Kericho Cathedral achieved the desired result; a series of consistent, smooth curved arches with edges so sharp that the team decided to hand chamfer the corners of the vertical columns to avoid harm to small children playing in the aisles during services.
To achieve this, a significant amount of commitment from the contractor was needed even though no reference of the project was provided in the region. Additionally, the local contractor combined international experience to carefully achieve the unique project.