In cooperation with BET architects from Ethiopia Söhne und Partner won the international design competition for Ethiopian Airlines New Headquarter in Addis Ababa. The airline has shown progressive development since its establishment and is now one of the fast growing and reputed airlines in Africa.
The new Head Quarter is, therefore, planned to address the need of its growth, dynamic operation and attaining its Vision-2025. The landscape, being an important part of the interior design, is flowing through and underneath the building. The office blocks are cantilevered above the street level as a floating form. It recalls to mountains, canyons or rocks. Bridges are the connecting elements as a symbol of connecting cultures and nations. Like the landscape is flowing into the building, the lobby itself is floating and rising. Like the landscape is coming into the building, there are always connections from the inside to the outside. You always feel like being in nature.
The gardens in between the office blocks are landscaped areas with trees, benches and art sculptures. As man-made buildings intrude into the landscape and in the midst of natural processes, so should the landscape and all adjoining natural processes make a striking yet pleasant intrusion into man-made buildings. Hence, the headquarter building has emerged to be a physical setting shaped as a number of departmentalized random blocks and the semi-external/internal voids in between the blocks allowing both human and natural elements to flow through, exposing at the same time harbouring the internal circulation elements: the lobby, corridors, stairs, escalators, lifts, and bridges within the voids created among the blocks.
The sun shading for the grand lobby is done by symbolizing trees, made out of timber. The office blocks are located around it. This is the place where people meet for business, chat, eat, relax, and walk. Like in a village all the different blocks are placed around the square where all life is actually happening, all important functions like Conference centre and the central archive is also placed there. It is the place where the major flow happens. The combination of extending the blocks and the possibility of building new block gives a maximum flexibility for future expansion.
+ Project credits / data
Project: Headquarter Ethiopian Airlines
Architect: Söhne & Partner Architekten | http://soehnepartner.com/
Location: Bole Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Net Area: 15.000 m2
Expansion Area: 4.500 m2
Planned Number of Employees: 1450
Estimated Completion: 2014