British Council Offices in EthiopiaEdit profile
The British Council has just moved into these new offices in central Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The 550m² building was designed by British Council’s own in-house architects. Emma Vergette, Head of Architecture at the British Council says ‘We want the building to project an image of contemporary UK, but have used the city of Addis Ababa as the source of reference for its architectural language.’ The design replaces the existing high solid wall that currently surrounds the Embassy compound and replaces it with an open railing to maximise the visibility of the new building and creates a feeling of openness and approachability. Security has been a big driver for the design of the building resulting in a long narrow building set back from the main road with minimal glazing on the front facade. The building is experienced through a series of planes. The first plane is experienced on the public highway on the front of the security gatehouse and is formed as if it is part of the front facade but pulled out from the main building. The main focal plane is the front facade of the building which is split into two solid elements by a central full height entrance-way. The third plane is a high wall that forms the boundary wall of the site, the back wall of the building and acts as a blank backdrop for the rest of the building in front. Historically the site of the capital city was chosen partly for its large natural resource of forests. The British Council has chosen to celebrate the importance of timber to the city in the design by re-using the eucalyptus and other hardwood trees that had to be felled as part of the site clearance. The timber was roughly sawn and cut into randomly sized planks and applied to the left hand side of the front facade. This gives a highly textured wall when either naturally or artificially lit.