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Ethiopian Church in Stockholm Shortlisted for World Architecture Festival

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The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Stockholm, designed by Belatchew Arkitekter, has been shortlisted for this year’s World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards in the Civic – Future Projects category.

The 10th edition of the World Architecture Festival will be held in Berlin, Germany, 15-17 November 2017. To celebrate reaching this milestone, World Architecture Festival organizers has launched the WAF Manifesto – identifying key challenges which architects will need to address over the next ten years, including climate, energy and carbon; water; ageing and health; re-use; smart city technology; building technology; cultural identity; ethics and values; power and justice; and virtual worlds.


The festival is truly growing to be a major international event in the world of architecture and the WAF Manifesto is both challenging and inspiring, says Rahel Belatchew, Principal Architect and CEO, Belatchew Arkitekter.

It is therefore satisfying that our design for an Ethiopian church in Stockholm has been shortlisted for an award – especially so when there apparently was a record number of entries this year, concludes Rahel Belatchew.

About the Ethiopian Church in Stockholm

This project is about creating a place for a community and bringing together an ancient tradition with modern needs in another part of the world.

The building is composed of colored concrete that takes up the color of the red African soil and the weight and materiality from the unique rock-hewn churches of Lalibela in northern Ethiopia. The feeling of weight being conveyed by the outwardly inclined walls. On the inside, the Scandinavian tradition of wood is visible through large timber frames and panels.

The main feature of the church is its large, round church hall with a central dome. The deliberately introvert volume takes in daylight from above avoiding openings in the facade. The lack of openings in the facade enables the visitor to start an inner spiritual journey without distraction from the residential neighborhood. The windowless facades also enhance the sculptural feature of the building and emphasizes the rough materiality of the red concrete. The dome is made of a copper like metal amidst green roofs.