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Belatchew Arkitekter — Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church — Stockholm, Sweden

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Stockholm, designed by Belatchew Arkitekter, has been shortlisted for this year’s World Architecture Festival Awards in the Civic — Future Projects category. To celebrate its 10th edition, World Architecture Festival organisers 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 Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church 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 coloured concrete that takes up the colour of the red African soil and the weight and materiality from the unique rock hewn churches of Lalibela in northern Ethiopia. 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 façade. The lack of openings in the facade enables the visitor to start an inner spiritual journey without distraction from the residential neighbourhood. 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.

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