Czech Republic Embassy Complex in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Nour Hazem Kandil
The German University in Cairo

Idea projektu

The Czech Republic had a collective desire to create infrastructure that responded to how citizens lived and navigated through their communities. This was achieved through minimalist designs which set function over aesthetics and were translated with straight lines and clear forms.

Popis projektu

The intersection in the form I designed was to reflect the union of both countries through this embassy, where the intersection is the main entrance of the complex and connects all spaces.

Once you enter the chancellery you will find a double height space of a reception and lounges and you can choose to either head to the offices and meeting rooms side of the building or to the representative spaces which is entered through a door and also has a separate entrance from the outside in case the interference of the guests and staff is not needed. This representative space is an assembly room that has access to a dining area with a lounge and is connected to an outdoor shaded terrace. The other part of the chancellery which is the offices is divided into 2 floors which are connected with a staircase in the reception area. The offices are modernized in way which they are offsetted from the exterior walls and have curtain walls facing the elevations so they can have an open and unobstructed view to the outside. They are also designed in an open plan concept of which between the offices there is an open space where there is a kitchenette, toilets and a common area which can be used for coffee/ lunch breaks.

Even though the visa and consular part seems as part of the very linear and long mass of the chancellery, but it is actually completely separated with a wall to control the circulation of the visitors/ applicants. It has its own pedestrian entrance from the street and a garden in front of it with a shaded entrance to act as a waiting area. What also makes it distinct from the other parts of the embassy complex is that all of the other parts are 3m high and only the consular is 4m. Since it is the smallest in area, it required the feeling of being more spatially open. It also has another back entrance for the staff who can park their cars inside the site. The waiting area is directly connected to the application windows, a meeting room and toilets.

The staff residence is connected to the chancellery with the same roof to give the feeling of continuity. The reception area of the residence is double height and is in direct view with the garden in front of it. The apartments are all designed more or less with the same concept which is you enter to a living space (connected to a terrace) with a dining table and an open kitchen to encourage families to sit together and then you pass to the bedrooms and toilets. This was inspired by several Czech housing projects. The front garden has a playground, a pool, tukuls and several shaded pergolas and picnic tables that are accessible to all the residents and is on a level of -0.5m. This is because there are semi-private terraces for the apartments on the ground floor and therefore there can some kind of privacy and separation between them and the garden.

The ambassador's villa is situated on the other end of the complex. It is divided into 2 levels. The lower one is a double height representative lounge and dining lounge with an office for the ambassador while the upper one is private for the family with a connection to the private garden. The private garden is elevated from the ground level by +0.5m so that it can be more seperate from the representative one which is on another side of the villa.

All the parts of the complex have shaded outdoor terraces since it is very common in Ethiopia to have terraces and since it is almost constantly raining in the 3 summer months they had to be shaded. The terraces in the residential parts are extruded from the linear clear mass to give more space for the living areas without having to cut off area as well as to act as viewing points to the gardens and the surroundings.

Technické informace

Moving on to the elevations, there are 3 main materials used; glass with black mullions to give it a modern feel, wood and exposed concrete.

Concrete was very common during the functionalist and cubist movements that took place in the Czech Republic several decades ago supporting the concept of minimalism.
Wood was inspired from both countries since in the Czech Republic there is a tradition of spending weekends in a cabin/cottage that is situated in the countryside that have wooden detailing. It was also noticed in old Ethiopian structures where the Indians had some impacts on the architecture over there. I chose for it to have a reddish brown color so that it can complement the famous Ethiopian reddish brown soil.

The main structure of the complex is the concrete walls that hold it up and the wood details are added for the aesthetic quality such as in the villa; the private upper floor has wooden cladding.
Since in the chancellery the offices are not in contact with the exterior walls, I used curtain walls in the elevations that are as high as the floor for maximum light and visual connection between inside and outside and as a source of ventilation, I added wood panel windows which can be opened to the corridors in front of the offices at any given time to the inside instead of the traditional glass windows.

The last wooden detail are the wooden columns that accent curtain walls behind entrances, double height spaces or lounges such as in the chancellery, the upper floor of the villa or the staff residence entrance and give it some privacy.

Since the complex is divided into 5 main functions and since there are very high security measures that need to be taken into account, I separated all the buildings from each other with 3m high walls and there are several porter lodges for security checks before every entrance to the complex since it has several ones from the street and from the inside of the site itself.
There are 3 parkings inside the site, one for the ambassador, one for the staff whether living in the residence or not and finally one for the representative guests of the chancellery.

Copyright © 2024 INSPIRELI | All rights reserved. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and use of cookies.