Our project aims to show the Czech Republic as being respectful and aware of the Ethiopian culture and landscape. Thereby, the eucalyptus of the site, plant species that have a strong link with the Ethiopian people, are mostly preserved.
For security reasons, the embassies are always protected behind a huge wall that, thereby, creates a distance between the building and the surrounding and, therefore, between the hosted nation and the host nation. The goal of this project is to make the wall the main link between the Czech Republic and Ethiopia. The wall is made of concrete mixed with Ethiopian orange earth pigments and instead of just surrounding the plot, enters inside and leads the visitors through the different spaces of the embassy. In the same goal, the housing of the local staff and of the Czech staff, despite being separated by the fence, are aligned to create a continuity. This wall as well separates the plot into two parts, a “public” part with the official buildings and a “private” part with the residence of the ambassador and the housing of the staff.
The main problem of the local climate is not the temperature (that remains constant around 16°C) but the monsoon in July and August. Thereby, the site can be crossed from the south-west to the north-east while being always covered, inside a building or below an exterior gangway.
The residence of the ambassador and the housing are oriented towards the south and have a direct light. The official buildings are oriented towards the north and have a diffuse light, more conducive to work. The offices all have a view towards the garden while the meeting rooms and the main corridors along the wall are lit by zenith openings.
The residence of the ambassador is separated into two parts, a representative part and a private part turn towards a little garden. The garage, technical and storage rooms are situated in the basement and directly linked to the housing and to the kitchen of the representative building.
The main wall of the embassy, that create its identity, is made of concrete mixed with local pigments made from orange earth. This technique is as easy as a classic concrete to enforce. The slight differences of concentration of pigment in the concrete makes slight differences of color and marbling between red and orange. It creates a distinctive identity and a unique materiality that, instead of rejecting people, arouse their curiosity.
Samuel Mengesha, local photographer, for taking pictures and videos of the site and its surrounding