The concept of the project focuses on using an element that is a landmark in the Czech Republic. There are a lot if items of its culture which could be represented, but I decided to go for something that anyone who has visited this beautiful country, especially it's capital city, Prague, could have experienced and could remember as something very characteristic.
That's why the project idea focuses on bringing the image of de Charles Bridge, along with the beautiful Old Town Bridge Tower, both built by Charles IV in the mid 14th century, and have survived till today.
The Charles Bridge carries a lot of history in every stone placed in it, and today it constitutes a milestone in the city. Bringing this concept to the project represents something that was significant to what the Czech Republic is today and something every habitant of the country feels represented by.
This way, every visitor that steps foot on the new Czech Republic Embassy, will experience a bit of this country's history and culture, and will be an icon of this.
To integrate this building to the local context, the use of its materials was essential. In Ethiopia it's very easy to find natural resources of stone, which also contributes to the idea of the bridge and its heaviness.
The project consists of two elements: first, the "bridge", which is located underground, generating certain ground movements and slopes to reinforce the idea of a bridge. Here there are located the Official Part, the Consular and Visa part, the personal of the embassy's residence and the building for local workforce.This entire building can be walked all over and there's an access from the top.
There is an underground street generating a different access for the Consular and Visa section, and the Residential part, separating this functions.
On the other hand, there is a very thin Tower located at the back of the bridge. Here there is located the residence for the ambassador. It has its own private access underneath the bridge.
All the offices in both the Consular section and the Official parte have an open concept, designed this way so the building can be flexible and usable through many years, adapting to the change of uses.
For ventilation and natural illumination, the bridge contains circular courtyards which add dynamism to the building, reinforcing the flexibility concept.
The main materials used in this project are stone and glass. The stone facade used in the bridge consists of pieces of stoned piled up within a metallic cage, to generate a play of shadows and light through the stones. The ambassador's tower is contrasted with the use of glass around all facades and a translucent skin to maintain certain privacy.