Ethiopian Church in Stockholm Shortlisted for World Architecture Festival

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.

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 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 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.


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 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 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 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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Belatchew Arkitekter is an architectural firm working within a wide range of projects, from urban planning and housing to offices and retail. The work of the office is idea driven with an aim to find unexpected solutions that enhance the potential of a site and add value to real estate.

Rahel Belatchew, MSA / SAR, DESA, Chief architect and founder of Belatchew Arkitekter, received her master’s degree in architecture from the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris 1996 and has worked as an architect in Paris, Luxemburg, Tokyo and Stockholm. Rahel also runs the experimental studio Belatchew Labs in order to find solutions to the challenges of the contemporary city through method development, digitization and sustainable architecture. Rahel Belatchew is also engaged in real estate development for the realization of projects with high architectural qualities.

Rahel Belatchew has been appointed Architect of the Year and Belatchew Arkitekter and Belatchew Labs have received several awards in recent years, including Architectural Review MIPIM Future Project Award, Smart Living Challenge and the Swedish national design award Design S.
CV Rahel Belatchew:
Photo Rahel Belatchew:


Rahel Belatchew, Principal architect, founder and CEO, phone +46 70 174 94 32,, Twitter and Instagram: @rahelbelatchew
David Lerdell, External Relations & Communications, phone +46 73 506 49 79,
Web:, Twitter and Instagram: @belatchew

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