New Church for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo congregation, in Hagsätra, Stockholm, Sweden.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Stockholm, designed by Belatchew Arkitekter, was deemed ‘Highly Commended’ at the World Architecture Festival Awards in Berlin.
Initially a grocery shop, this building has for the past decades served as a temporary church for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo congregation. The congregation is steadily growing and is now the archdiocese of the church in Sweden.
The original structure is preserved and will be converted into a new assembly hall. New spaces will be added all around the existing structure, with the new church hall as a circular volume at the end — which gives the building an entirely new appearance. The circular shape and the design of the dome draw on inspiration from traditional Ethiopian church architecture. The colour and materiality of the dyed concrete echoes the World Heritage-classified, rock-hewn churches in Lalibela in northern Ethiopia.
The outwardly inclined walls of the church add to the sense of a solid rock building. The dome is made of copper, which lets daylight into the church hall along the perimeter. The present church hall will be converted into an assembly hall and given a higher ceiling with roof lanterns to bring in more daylight. A new activity area will be added to the existing building to accommodate more social activities, now that the church has become an even more important meeting place.