The Embassy of the Czech Republic - Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

Bc. Klára Škodová
CTU in Prague - Faculty of Civil Engineering
Czech Republic

Project idea

The project idea of the design concept of the embassy of the Czech Republic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia combine a traditional and modern concept of architecture and allows variability in further design. The principle of the building works with a contrast of materials and benefits from its usage in various ways.
The shape of the main buildings comes from the symbols of unity, cooperation and infinity which represents the Ministry of Foreign Affairs goals of establishing of long-term cooperation, level of representation, tradition, history and economics.
The connection of traditional Czech glass industry and traditional Ethiopian housing is proposed by building with double facade - glass facade representing the Czech tradition and with wooden-like panels that represent the African tradition - to create strong cultural connection between the nations.

Project description

Project Description
The construction of the new embassy complex take place on vacant land of 13.304 sqm, located at Bole Kifle Ketemala Kebele 6, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The current terrain of the land is flat with worthless natural growth of trees and grass. Some of the trees will be removed during the construction, others will be kept enriching the greenery. The representative garden shell be organized to enrich the local greenery by supporting the growth of endemic trees and the speeches on the red list of greenery of Ethiopia. The selection of planted vegetation and landscaping match the climatic and soil conditions. The garden composition optimizes the use of the area for social events and recreational need of the embassy staff. The layout of the plot is in harmony with its economically undemanding maintenance, incl. the vegetation and its irrigation. The greenery offers enough shading for recreation.
The terrain on the plot has height variation between 0 to 0.8 m to represent the natural look of landscape. The surface of the roads within the complex is not dusting and corresponds to the surface commonly used in the location and are easy to maintain. The representative paths are from granite blocks from nearby mine.
The perimeter fencing of the Main Embassy area and the Western Area is 3 m high and it has anti-climb surface.
The plot is divided in to three parts: The Main Embassy Area, The Western Area and the Community Area:

The Community Area
On the south boundary the road was originally planned to be extended and interconnected with the road running along the eastern boundary of the plot, but due to sprawl development and its subsequent legalization a blind corner appeared there. The proposal is renewing the idea to reconnect the area around the embassy by new road on the embassy plot. By this solution there is a separated area created. This area is used for small visitor’s parking (P2) for visitors of the embassy or for the clients of the Visa and Consular Department. There is an isolated entrance to the consular and visa department.
For easier connection of the embassy to the community there is a park with “tukul” designed aside of the visitor parking (P2). This solution separates the problematic southern boundary formed by the walls of neighbouring building and the part presently used by a car service.

The Western Area, buildings C and D for local workforce
The most problematic part of the plot is the western site directly bordering on school buildings, but mainly due to an obviously illegal construction of a building serving an unknown purpose, which is located at the northwest corner of the site. As the demolition of the illegal building supposed to be difficult to claim under local conditions, the proposal separated the building by inner wall as recommended.
This area is divided by inner wall from the main embassy area. It has walk-only entrance on the south and mixed used entrance on the north. This car entrance has an incoming safety filter for a car with two doors with gradual opening. It is mainly used by employees and it is operated via remote control, possibly also from the reception.
The inner wall between the western area and the main embassy plot is provided with a "rear entrance" for the embassy staff and local workforce.
The newly formed plot is used for technical and economic zone with a support facility (building D with dressing room with kitchen, toilets, shower, laundry, workshop, storages, carwash etc.) and a parking for the embassy staff (P1), situated on the north, and social housing (building C) with 4 social flats for so-called "local workforce" with a local workforce zone, situated on the south.
The usable floor of building C is 168 sqm and building D is 85 sqm. The roof of both buildings can be used for community garden by placing seedbeds.
Both objects are connected though sheltered path.

The Main Embassy Area
The Main Embassy Area is divided in the following zones: the official zone on the south, the representative zone on the south east and north west, the housing and recreational zone on the north east used for leisure time activities of the office staff and residents (children playground, biotope – a place for swimming, tennis court with possible use as a court for another ball games), “tukul” for meetings and garden parties, gardening zone on the south west with building E, a gardener warehouse and seedbeds (12), the circulation zone around the buildings which defines entrances, sidewalks, pavements and parking, the residential zone on the terrace of the 4th floor of the main embassy building used for gathering mainly in the rain season and technical and economic zone in the underground floor and on the roof of the 4th floor of the main embassy building.
There are two flagpoles for the Czech Republic and the European Union Flag at the main entrance to the Embassy building.
The plot provides conditions for organizing social events in a representative garden according to local conditions and customs. Area 3 and 4 is accessible from the representative part of the embassy. The area offers seats, flower beds and “tukul”. Area 10 and 11 serves for purpose of theatre public gathering with speeches or concerts by providing a podium under the flag poles (11) and auditorium (10).
On the south of the area there is a main porter’s lodge (building F). On the east there is a secondary porter’s lodge with a court facility storage (building G), and the embassy (building A) with apartments, residence, garages and service facilities in the centre of the plot. Building A is located within distance from the site fencing perimeter higher than 16 m. The building of the consular and visa department (building B) is situated on the plot boundary.
The main pedestrian access from the main entrance to the embassy is design as a straight path with no shelter around the path to avoid the possibility of visitors leaving the path. The path is monitored by security system.
There are several “tukul”– a circular roofed structure, equipped with an open fire, benches, drinking fountain, etc build in various location around the plot of embassy complex. This structure serves for meetings and gatherings of the staff and inhabitants of the complex.
The estimated usable floor area of the buildings in the complex is about 4410 sqm. The square area is above the estimated maximum to fulfil all the additional requirements of the competition conditions, which are not included in the excel of display areas or are underestimated.
The buildings follow the regulations, the requirements and the operational context of the embassy complex. The proposed buildings, especially the embassy building are the representatives of the Czech Republic.
The name of the office will be written in the Czech and English republic and the national emblem will be placed on the fencing of the plot at the main entrance.

Car entries and pedestrian entries to the embassy site
Each zone of the embassy site has individual access. The site is accessed from three sides. There are two car entrances to the area. The main entrance to the embassy complex is from the southern side with departure alternative to the east. The south access to the official-representative part of the complex which allows smooth arrival of vehicles with visitors at the ceremony events. And the entrance for residence, apartments and underground parking of the employees at the east. This exit can be also used as an alternative for departure after official events.
The south exit has an incoming safety filter for two cars (incoming and outcoming vehicle if needed) with two doors with gradual opening. The entrance is controlled from the main porter’s lodge (building F). At the same time, it is possible to operate the door vie remote control at the arrival of private cars. The east entry mainly used by employees has a barrier (retractable bollard) that can activate in the event of an emergency. The entrance is mostly operated via remote control, but it can have a porter’s service if needed (building G). Both entries allow pedestrian access – south to visitors and east to employees. There is one more pedestrian entrance for employees through the western area, from the staff parking (P1) and local workforce area.
The entrances are sufficiently distant from each other so that, for security reasons, there is no interference between the movement of the applicants and visitors with the embassy staff.

The garages and parking
Semi-automatic parking system allows to park 13 service and private cars in the building. The entrance is designed separately from the main entrance into the embassy complex. The garage doors and the system of parking operations is controlled by remote control and an app to speed up a preparation of requested car.
The car wash is placed at the western part of the plot in building D together with car service and spare parts storage.
Parking for embassy visitors is situated in the south part with capacity for 10 (P2) of the plot. It is also possible, during the special events to park the cars at the western part of the plot with capacity for 12 cars (P1). If there is more places required, it is possible to park at the connection between the main gate (south) and the private entrance (east gate).
The driver’s room with sanitary facilities and tea kitchen is placed right next to the garages.

Building A – The Official Embassy Building
Building A is built as a multifunctional mono-block including those functional units: representative area (1st and 2nd floor), embassy offices (2nd floor), apartments for the embassy staff (3rd floor) and residence with representative garden (4th floor) and technical and economic zone (basement ant the roof of the 4th floor). Also, the kitchen and store rooms are in the basement.
There is a barrier-free access to all floors including the sanitary facilities dimensioned according to the public health regulations and standards of Czech Republic. The security separations are openable by the electronic security cards and by reception.
The glassing used on the facade is security glassing with thermochromic layer. The percentage of the glassing is possible to lower, based on the requirements, by placing a sandwich panels with glass surface into the structure. The glass designed in the sanitary facilities is designed with an opaque surface.
The main staircase interconnecting all the floor of the building is separated from the reception hall. There are four lifts in the building and one fire escape stairs. Each lift serves for its purpose and it’s operated by electronic cards.

Representative spaces
The main entrance serves for the embassy staff and visitors. The design of the security vestibule doesn’t allow to open both the inside and the outside doors simultaneously. Door to the reception are opened after closure of the outside door by command from the reception or with a card by the embassy staff. It is possible to pass mail directly to the reception via a hand-in security window.
From the security vestibule it is possible for parties to directly access a meeting room via a door controlled from the reception with separate entrance for the embassy staff. The remaining meeting rooms are accessible for parties and the embassy staff from the corridor.
The receptionists have control over the entrance hall through security window. The entrance hall is fitted with barrier free sanitary facilities for woman and gentleman and its separated from the rest of the office part by doors. Those doors provide direct access to the building’s representative spaces and for the embassy staff and selected visitors to the embassy spaces via a staircase or lift.
There is an alternative representative entrance for the public with a representative entrance leading to the representative hall. This representative hall is also fitted with barrier free sanitary facilities and dressing room. This entrance is not market to avoid public attraction to an unauthorised entry.
All the entrances are secured against opening. The entry is allowed with a card access only, or by the remote operation through the reception. The main entrance is marked with a signage. For a comfort, the entrances are sheltered with the balcony structure and the facade panels.
The representative spaces (assembly hall, dining room and representative lounges) serve for holding business events. Representative breakfast, lunches or dines with capacity of 30 participants are held in the dining room. It is possible to arrange the dining room for a lunch for two persons by variable layout. There is also space for cocktails with up to 150 participants in the representative area.
The representative spaces can also serve to host deferent ambassador’s and diplomatic staff meeting with diplomats from other countries. The welcoming lounge in the representative spaces serves for welcoming guest, aperitifs, etc. It is also possible to serve aperitifs and coffee in one of the lounges.
The assembly hall and dining room relate to a representative garden (4). It is possible to hold representative receptions in the garden as well.
The representative spaces don’t allow visitors’ free access to the other embassy spaces, they are separated from the other embassy sections by lockable doors. The places open to public are corridors with gallery spaces.
Representative kitchen, staff room, sanitary facilities for personnel and the storing facilities are situated in the basement to fulfil the requirements of its separation from the representative spaces acoustically and air-conditionally.

Embassy offices
Section A serves the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Communication with parties in this section may only take place in the head officer’s office, other meetings are held in the meeting rooms on the ground floor or in representative spaces. Section A is separated from the other embassy spaces by doors. This section has meeting room and a balcony. There is a tea kitchen with fridge, microwave and kettle. In this section there is also a cleaning room for the entire floor and barrier free sanitary facilities.
The staff in section B deal with the agenda related to commercial and economic relations between the Czech Republic and Ethiopia. The staff in this section are the employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The meetings of these staff members are held in the meeting rooms. There is a tea kitchen with fridge, microwave and kettle and mix-gender sanitary facility in this section.
The staff of section C are the employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One of the offices is possible to build without windows. The section is not walk-through and is equipped with separate sanitary facilities with shower and a tea kitchen. The rooms are equipped with a separate air-conditioning circuit located above the dropped ceiling above the sanitary facilities.
The employees of section D communicate with parties in the meeting rooms on the ground floor. This section includes the refining administrative and technical staff of the embassy. These may be delegated staff members or contract employees (husbands or wives of delegated staff), or they may be local workforce (citizens of the country with whom the embassy concludes a contract of employment). There is a tea kitchen with fridge, microwave and kettle and mix-gender sanitary facility in this section.
The walking distance between the entrance and the office is fatly short. The building offers various spaces for the staff meetings – wide corridors, atriums for the benefit of communication.

Warehouses is in the basement as well as all the technological equipment such as: internal equipment store, representation storeroom, food storeroom, material storeroom, refrigerated storeroom, storage of frozen food, garbage storage, boiler room, electric substation, air-conditioning devices, battery and UPS system, replacement power supply etc. There is also an automated laundry service is located and water tanks.
Waste containers are stored at the western part. The containers are sheltered an pushed out on the street when needed.

Apartments for the embassy staff
The 3rd floor of the main embassy building is dedicated to the staff apartments. The usable floor area of the flats is 644 sqm, the circulation space of about 340 sqm of roofed exterior space is used for activities such as ping pong or table football. This area can be equipped with benches and tables to meet and chill.
There are three apartments 2+1 and 3+1, two apartments 4+1 and two courier accommodation (a room with a tea kitchen). The layout of the apartments allows the interconnection of apartments 2+1 and 4+1 with each of the courier accommodation if a delegated staff member has a larger family.
The apartments have entrance shared with the delivery supply and are not directly connected with the official part of the embassy. The entrance has a security lock openable by the cards.

The residence has usable floor area of 400 sqm. According to the potential of the embassy complex plot, the residence is designed as a part of the Official Embassy Building. It is situated in the 4th floor as the only unit. It has its very own representative entrance and large roof terrace with view all over the location. Upper location of the residence supports it importance and representativity.
The residence is divided into two parts – representative spaces which include a dining room and representative kitchen and lunch, and private part of the residence with ambassador’s apartment and a guest room with own sanitary facilities and small kitchen for an ambassador private visitor. This room can be used as an individual apartment unit.
Both parts share private representative terrace with a garden with selection of planted vegetation and landscaping. The garden serves for ambassadors’ private purposes, but it is also designed for organizing social events. It relates to the representative spaces of the residence. The garden is also accessible by authorised persons or during special events from the representative places in the 1st and 2nd floor.
There are two possible entrances. First entrance is the representative entrance by elevator for official events, which is also used to serve for the private part of ambassador’s apartment and as an entrance for the guest room. The entries are divided in to individual spaces inside the disposition of the 4th floor by the elevator operation. Second entrance is from the main stairs of the complex with elevators for the service – a chef and staff in the case of reception. It can be also used as a second entrance to other parts of the floor through the garden.
Dressing room and barrier free sanitary facilities are placed in the entrance hall. Kitchen with storeroom is connected to the cooling and freezing box of the embassy building. Through the circulation spaces there is an entrance to the roof terrace and garden.
Private part of the residence is a luxury apartment with a possibility to connect to the guest room in case of a larger number of ambassador’s family members. The private part of the residence is separated from the representative spaces, but the floor plan allows connection between both parts – through the representative lounge of thought the garden.
The garage of the residence is shared with the main embassy building. The garage door is remotely operated as well as the pick-up from the semiautomatic parking system.
The technical support is shared with the rest of the building.

Building B – Consular Office and Visa Department Office
Building B is a separate building for Consular office and Visa Department Office with usable floor are of 260 sqm. It is situated on the boundary of the plot in the south east corner to ensure simple entry of the applicants in to the waiting room directly from the street via delimited area of the plot, so the applicant cannot get to other parts of the embassy complex. The entrances to the site and to the waiting rooms are equipped with electric locks controlled from the office of the Consular and Visa Department. Access to the waiting room of the visa and consular department is barrier free as well as the sanitary facilities.

Technical information

The main vertical communication is monolithic reinforced stairs also used as an evacuation passage with three evacuation lifts. Each lift serves for a different purpose. The northernmost lift is used by staff, the middle one by residents and the southernmost by embassy staff and the visitors who don’t use the stair in the middle of the disposition.
There is one more evacuation elevator serving for residence. Which is used by the ambassador and his family or by the visitors. There is a possibility to enter staff room in the basement by exterior stairs.
The object has one underground floor and four floors above the ground.
The building height and the shape helps to keep as much greenery as possible in the close environment. It follows the height of the new houses development which grows over the old buildings. The zoning of the proposal organized by floors allows separate use of the zones and it connects all necessary functions under one roof.
The object benefits from the different diameters of the floors by allow more greenery at the ground and higher usage of the interior space in the central floors. This floor organization has also optical benefits – the building is not as massive as it may be with regular seize of 4 floors.
The structure is designed with strong connection to resist to a seismic risk of the location. The main materials of the building are reinforced concrete, glass and wood or wood-like GFRC panels.
The main embassy building if founded on the reinforced concrete board which is the base for the water-resistant insulated basement system. The structural system of the building is a combination of structural walls and columns. The structure is designed with no dilatation based on the size and weather condition. Other buildings are designed with a reinforced concrete system as well.
The portions and dropped ceilings are made from sandwich panels. The surfaces are washable and easy to maintain.
Flat roof of the main building has an intestine greenery with paved parts to create garden and terrace together. Other roofs have extensive greenery or are paved.
The maximum size of the main embassy building are 45 x 35 m and the height is 15,7 m. The GFRC panels reach maximum height of 17,5 m. The panels are fixed to the construction of balconies and at the terrace they have its own stable steel structure. The GFRC panels copy the shape of the buildings. There are dividing between separate balconies in the 3rd floor made from GFRC panels.
The façade glass is 3D curved and it has 3 layers of functional glass – laminated glass with high reflection level, thermochromic glass, and safety glass. The façade of atriums and the 3rd floor is 2D curved curtain wall with openable windows. The building façade protect its users from unnecessary source of noise and vibration.
Smart glassing system of the windows at the shared terrace in the third floor is equipped with motion sensor to disable the view of passing people to offer higher comfort to the inhabitants.

Technical equipment of the main embassy building
The main building is designed as an energy efficient complex, whose operation doesn’t require higher coasts spent on primary energies and the servicing of complex technical equipment that consumes energy. The building is designed to avoid excessive thermal issues and gains a passive way, by architectural elements.
The building includes standard low-voltage devices and wiring (telephones, computer network, electronic signalling, electrical are alarm, etc). The proposal takes the advantage of the near utility systems of gas to heat up the hot water and the sewerage.
Separate zones are equipped with thermal and air quality sensors for regulation for air conditioning unit. In the main object there will be automated fire system installed.
All the buildings have thunderstorm protection.

Sources of the electricity provided by the building
The primary source of the electricity of the building are photovoltaic panels with accumulators (batteries, UPS). There is a cogeneration unit placed to heat up water and generate electricity from a gas if necessary.
There is an aggregate as a secure secondary source of electricity. This source of electricity is used in emergency.
The electricity will be used for the building facilities, LED lightning, air-conditioning, water heating, pumps, water filtration, ventilation and other electronics.

Source of water
An own source of drinking water with enough capacity is built on the plot – a well with a drill dept around 200 m. The water will be filtered, treated and stored.
There are sources of supply water – the rain water, bathrooms and tea kitchens - which can be reused for toilets, car wash, source of water in biotope, for integrated fire system, etc. and for gardening. The unused water will be drained at the plot or let to the sewerage.
The primary source of hot water are solar collectors, the secondary is cogeneration unit. Another source of pre heated water is air – water interchanger from the waste air from kitchen and laundry mainly.
There is central system of hot water heating for the entire building with circulation pump. All the sources of water and hot water are equipped with economic armatures. The hot water is also used for heating.

Waste water
The waste waters are separated from each other based on the final treatment. The waste water from the basement is pumped to the sewerage under the ceiling to avoid perforation of the basement walls.
Rain water from the roofs and surfaces is stored in tanks for rain water and used as supply water.
Water from bathrooms (sinks and showers) and tea kitchens is filtered and reused as the supply water.

The representation areas and offices of the embassy building are heated by the air-conditioning unit through water – air exchanger. Heating in the bathrooms for higher comfort is an electrical heater. The building may be also heated by a floor heating system.

Air Exchange
The supply of the fresh air is secured by 4 separate air-conditioning units separate to several zone: Units placed in the basement: Central unit with fan coils (to hair the comfort) placed in the rooms is used for: offices and flats and private part of the residence. There is a unit used for the representation spaces and one unit for the technical facilities. Unit placed on the 2nd floor is used for an office section C which requires own air-conditioning system.
Flats and corridors are equipped with openable window. It is possible to use natural ventilation only.

1) KYSLÍK, P. DAĎA, J. for purpose of Inspireli Awards, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Czech Republic and the Department of Architecture of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, CTU in Prague. A student architectural competition for a design concept of embassy premises of THE EMBASSY OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC – ADDIS ABABA (ETHIOPIA). In Prague, September 2018. EN_Addis Ababa COMPETITION CONDITIONS 09_2018 EN.pdf
2) ŠKODOVÁ, K. The Embassy of The Czech Republic – Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). Diploma project. Department of Architecture of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, CTU in Prague. In Prague, May 2019. F1-DP-2019-Skodova-Klara-KSk.pdf


Ing. arch. Vladimír Gleich (teacher)
doc. Ing. Vladimír Jelínek, CSc. (consultant of technical facilities)
Ing. Jiří Novák, Ph.D. (consultant of construction)
Ing. Petr Bílý, Ph.D. (consultant of concrete structures)

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