Catholic Church of the Transfiguration
by DOS Architects


Church of the Transfiguration by Dos Architects

London studio DOS Architects have won a competition to design a 2000-seat church in Lagos, Nigeria with this design featuring an undulating roof.

Church of the Transfiguration by Dos Architects

The Catholic Church of the Transfiguration will be built with variously-sized arches at four-metre intervals, creating a swooping roof that dips towards the entrance in the middle.

Church of the Transfiguration by Dos Architects

This steel structure will house a two-storey congregation hall with glazing at either end emphasising the hall's height.

Church of the Transfiguration by Dos Architects

Construction is expected to begin in 2011.

Here are some more details from DOS Architects:


Even though our design proposal may seem unconventional to the untrained eye, it is actually based on traditional principles of Catholic Church design: The main congregation Hall features a Latin cross above the Organ and altar; The hall has a nave and two aisles at each side which are all coincident with the main axis of the Church; we have placed a Latin Cross on the highest point of the Church’s structure, which will become an icon for the city of Lekki and Lagos as a whole.

Church of the Transfiguration by Dos Architects

The project consists of an organic skin which, in one single gesture, becomes the roof and external walls of the Church, enveloping and protecting the Congregation within. The main access is placed in the narrowest and lowest part of the building and leads into a spectacular entrance foyer, from which the visitor has views and clear access to both floors of the Church. The main staircase in the entrance foyer divides the Church into two halves which are visually linked by the large atrium that traverses the building. The funnel effect within the entrance foyer moreover reinforces the huge and spectacular scale of the main Congregation Hall and the Chapel of Perpetual Adoration to either side.

Church of the Transfiguration by Dos Architects

The architectural concept and structural form are integral, with a series of arches of varying heights producing the sculptural form of the building as a whole. Arches are one of the oldest and most efficient forms of structure, utilizing the full height of the building to provide stiffness resulting in a relatively slender structure. Fabricated steel arches are positioned at 4m centres along the length of the building, with cold‐formed steel purlins spanning between the arches supporting the roof finishes and ceiling within. These arches are supported on each side of the building by a series of piled foundations taking vertical loads into the ground beneath. The horizontal thrust which results from the arching action is resisted by a reinforced concrete ground slab which ties the two bases of the arch together.

Church of the Transfiguration by Dos Architects

The main spaces for prayer have been designed to be peaceful, awe inspiring, and full of joy whilst also allowing the worshippers full and uninterrupted views of the Altar. The impressive glazed facades on both the East and western axis of the Church provide natural lighting and emphasize the height and scale of both areas of worship. The interior of the Church is very simple, pure and full of spirituality. The outside is elegant, timeless and will stand as a true Icon for the Catholic community of Lagos and Nigeria as a whole.

Client: Catholic Church of the Transfiguration
Location: Victoria Garden City, Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria
Designer: DOS Architects Ltd
Floor area ‐ sq metres 3,275sqm (Gross internal Area).
2000 seating capacity.
2 Floors
Budget ‐ $14,000,000
Project status: Early Planning
Completion date/expected completion date February 2013

See also:


Dove of Peace
by Sunlay Design
Catholic Church
by Stemmle Architekten
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Posted on Thursday July 29th 2010 at 1:30 pm by Joe Mills. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Rob

    Wow! If this gets built it will be a new Icon for the city of Lagos! Stunning

  • Well done Tavis and Lorenzo !

  • Sparkit

    Looks like a sinking ship.

  • Kaptain krunch

    Nigeria is in need of schools, hospitals and infrastructures, not churches.

  • jeanpierre

    could Dezeen create a robot that systematicaly deletes comments containing the word "i-c-o-n"?

    Rob, does Lagos really needs an icon? May this church become an icon anywhere?

  • cka

    Why are the entrances on the side and not in the main direction of the targeted and emblematic structure ?

  • Steven

    What a magnificent structure. I must say though, religion is a little outdated in the country and I agree with Kaptain krunch.

  • Gary Barber

    The fact of "Religion being a little outdated" as said by Steven is probably the reason of the construction of the church… It is what has always happened… churches have used architecture, painting and sculpture to atract more "customers" since the dark ages… but still I agree… with all the problems that Lagos has i still think that there are higher priorities on the list other than an Icon that isnt even much of an icon… its not a Zumthor or a Siza or even a Tadao Ando any one of these 3 architects have works with better quality than this… so… I think in general that the church could do more with their money than just build a somewat cool bot still mediocre church…
    Sorry if I dissapoint anyone…

    • Rob

      Gary, you seem to equate choosing an Architect to buying a car ( A Zumthor, a Siza, an Ando/ an Audi, a Porsche, an Aston Martin…) Haven't we all had enough of these branded Architects? True, Siza, Ando and Zumthor are 3 great Architects but surely they need to leave some space for the next generation?? Surely this is the point of doing Architectural competitions…

    • Anto

      God deserves the best and even more.

  • tromsdalen

    Looks to me like the “cathedral of the arctic” in Tromsoe/Norway by Jan Inge Hoven transferred to the african sun… and melted!

  • I must say I really disagree with the condescending look of the outside world on African countries.

    Saying that a country can’t build a large church because there are hospitals, schools etc to be built is ludicrous. These types of iconic buildings often create mind-shifts in societies that are more valuable than the actual cost of the building.

    If the same mentality had to be applied, St Paul’s, Notre Dame, The Pyramids… would never have been built.

  • Dayo

    What is mutually-exclusive with building churches, schools AND hospitals? It's not as if the churches in Nigeria have not already done a much better job of building better schools and hospitals than the state offers. Religion is just ONE facet of the multifaceted of Africans that many Westerners patronizing do not seem to grasp.

  • caauie

    Quite frankly, the Catholic Church has no business asking a foreign firm to design, for Lagos, what is essentially third rate architecture. An icon for Lekki and Lagos? What a joke. Pull the other one. Just as bad as the new catholic church structures in Lagos. I am actually going to write in one of our (Nigerian) newspapers condemning the building and the church for commissioning it.

    In addition, Lagos does not need that grandiose structure, but rather a simpler more potent piece such as would have been achieved by Ando, or some practising modernist architecture firms in Lagos like ARG Studio. For grandiose, it might as well have been given to Calatrava.

  • Buc

    I believe your information is quite wrong. DOS Architects did not win this competion with their design but an indigenous Nigeria firm did with their own design. Please check your facts.

  • Sixtus

    I think those who criticize this magnificent piece of architecture on the basis of what Lagos needs are being bias and feeble-minded. There’s nothing wrong with building a befitting place of worship for a parish. After all, there is a great connection between comfort and worship, anyway.

  • Tina Hampton

    @kaptain. One, as a nation, does not get any of those things without seeking the kingdom first! Although that is just the building, the wisdom is in knowing who is the source of all things and the vessels used to accomplish all things, I.e. hospitals, schools & infrastructure, etc….plus, nothing comes by without, not only asking, but asking the right source for the empowerment of the anointing going forth in all vessels used to serve others and faith that only comes by the hearing of the word and a vision – with the holding of the amount of new leaders that building “is going to hold” here comes “those things”, I.e. schools, hospitals & infrastructure for the building of “families, communities & a nation” of kingdom citizens!

  • Akanns

    The floor plan and shape resemble a talking drum.