Commercial Bank of Ethiopia HQ

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 Commercial Bank of Ethiopia HQ
The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) is to construct a 42-story building for its headquarters in Addis Ababa. The building will be the tallest building yet in Ethiopia. One of the fundamental values in banking is trust. Solidity and integrity are as much a part of trust as transparency and proximity to the customer. This duality finds expression in the mixture of open and more reserved elements of the design. On the longer sides of the slender office tower, a gap opens in the curtain facade to reveal the city from a new perspective. The reduced reflection of the glass skin here permits a contrasting glimpse inside the building. This openness continues to base level, where it reveals the entrance area. The tower is accompanied by a conference center and a shopping mall. The buildings cluster around a sunken landscaped plaza.

The site is located at the center of the CBD (Central Business District). The Structural Master plan considers this area to be a high-end development district. This also goes in line with the intention of the developer, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. So this opportunity is capitalized by the project in order to maximize the iconic feature of the design. To portray CBE’s status as a world class bank in combination with the intention to maximize its iconic appearance the image of a treasure chest pictures the design approach. The international world of investment and money reflect the treasure, desirable and valuable, secured by a block. Then the strong and reliable geometries are shifted to expose a glimpse onto the treasure in his center. The design strategy is developed out of the interplay between the strong and the desirable, the tension between closed surfaces and shifted openings, from an urban scale into the buildings and its surfaces.

The program is stacked on the building site, before the urban fabric and the site interlace into a volumetric program distribution. The classical high-rise plinth dissolves into individual volumes to merge the scale of the surrounding district. The designation of the programmatic fields, by twisting the shopping and conference center volumes, opens spaces for plazas as urban connectors and representative surfaces for the CBE. It further emphasizes the integration into the urban context and draw new urban lines in a master plan scale.

The volumes of the buildings reflect the design strategy in the differentiation of the envelope geometries. By breaking the Euclidian forms of the block with vertical openings on the east and west façade of the tower, as well as the shifts on the shopping and conference center, the strong geometric volumes become an iconic feature. The vertical shift on the towers east façade frame the main entrance of the building, the same element opens the west-façade for a breathtaking view over the city on the upper half of the tower, including the executive floors on top of the building. The skin gives a visual interpretation of the treasure chest, depending on the human eye perspective. Vertical mullions with differences in depth create a constantly changing image of the buildings. Depending on the viewing angle and the inclination of the façade- surfaces the appearance of the building dynamically changes from open (frontal view on façade) to close (angled view on façade). By passing by on the two adjacent roads the building will changes from a strong and closed appearance, communicating trust and reliability to – for a short moment – a transparent glass façade, offering a short view on the treasure in the inside.


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Building Activity

  • Niloy
    Niloy commented
    good one
    about 3 years ago via