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The Royal Embassy of The Netherlands, Addis Ababa (awarded 2005–2007)

The embassy project was commissioned in 1998 by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of a programme to construct new embassy buildings that would represent contemporary Dutch culture while at the same time respect the local environment and create meaningful collaborations with local professionals and firms (Johnston, 2007). The original diplomatic complex had been in use since the 1940s. However, in 1998 the chancellery occupied a provisional building and the ambassador’s residence was a derelict villa. The brief called for the construction of a new chancellery, an ambassador’s residence along with three staff houses, as well as the refurbishment and expansion of the old villa to accommodate the deputy ambassador. A small school building and gatehouse were later added to the programme (Balamir, 2007).

The Dutch Embassy complex lies on the southern outskirts of Addis Ababa, in a dense eucalyptus grove set amidst urban sprawl. The compound of the Dutch Embassy consists of a 5-hectare wooded area that slopes steeply towards the city (Arch-Daily, 2012). Two other embassies - those of Saudi Arabia and Cameroon - are located to the south of the 5-hectare site (Johnston, 2007). The site has no distinguished buildings; it is mainly a low- cost housing neighbourhood with some small shops and a ring road. The landscaped compound acts a small oasis of greenery in the neighbourhood. The architects’ guiding principle was to preserve this quality, minimising the impact of the new construction, and to maintain the existing contour lines.

It was also important to incorporate the surrounding sloping landscape of eucalypt forest that descends steeply to the valley below.

One of the objectives of the Dutch government’s project was to represent contemporary Dutch culture while respecting the traditions of the country in which they are based. Integrating with the local culture, climate, and sensitivities makes collaboration with local professionals a prerequisite for a successful project (Balamir, 2007). Cutting transversely across the sloping terrain, the main building and an extended horizontal volume take on an east-west axis. The ambassador’s residence is separated from the chancellery by a driveway that permits east-west access at the first-floor level, at around one-third of the way down. The flat roof that unites the two parts is a roof garden accessed from elevated pathways. Inside the chancellery, offices flank a ramped corridor that climbs the gradient of the site, ending in a patio linked to the roof. Walls, floors, and ceilings are pigmented the same red-ochre as the Ethiopian earth and are uniformly composed of concrete, creating the effect of a cave-like space. In contrast, the roof garden, with its network of shallow pools, alludes to a Dutch water landscape. Other contemporary Dutch themes are expressed in the building’s programmatic diversity, its crisp transparencies, and its over-sailing cantilevers (Figure 5.7) (Johnston, 2007).

The Royal Embassy of The Netherlands, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by Dick Van Gameren, Bjarne Mastenbroek Source

Figure 5.7 The Royal Embassy of The Netherlands, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by Dick Van Gameren, Bjarne Mastenbroek Source: © Aga Khan Trust for Culture/Christian Richters (photographer) Environmental control parameters were addressed by utilising the natural insulating properties of the earth and adding layers of insulation in the walls, ceilings, and floors. Chimneys are located in every space, some with fireplaces, in case additional heating is required. The reception area of the ambassador’s residence is the only space that relies on mechanical ventilation, or an air-conditioning system, to minimise energy consumption. Daylight is funnelled into these spaces through the sloped patio (Johnston, 2007). There are several further incisions along the length of the block, which draw indirect northern and southern light through their transparent edges. Apart from these incisions and the restrained fenestration, the red- tinted concrete building mass gives an almost monolithic appearance.4

Ipekyol Textile Factory in Edime, Turkey (awarded 2008-2010)

Turkey’s industrial production reached its peak during the second half of the 20th century, due to low labour costs, enhanced machine technology, and improved transportation. As a result, industry and factories spread on the peripheries of most major cities. The lpekyol Factory is situated in the city of Edirne, which borders Greece and Bulgaria, with easy accessibility from Istanbul. In addition to its location between European and Asian Anatolia, Edirne has a rich historical heritage; these include the walls and towers of Edirne Castle, built by the Roman emperor Hadrian, the famous Selimiye Mosque from the Ottoman period and the recently restored Sultan Bayezid II Mosque Complex, with its hospital dating back to 1484 (Mosta- favi, 2011).

The lpekyol Textile Factory, a custom-designed facility, departed from the precedent of generic factories scattered between Istanbul and the site, most of which are metal-clad or precast concrete single-storey sheds that have a neglected aspect and little to no relation to their contexts (Mostafavi, 2011). Involved in the fabric industry for many years, the client realised that to cope with changes in the field of textile manufacturing, massively influenced by globalisation and increased consumer patterns, his factory needed to produce a higher quality product aimed at both local and international markets (Kara, 2010). Moreover, the client recognised that new digital manufacturing technologies were necessary to implement higher standards of production. He travelled around the world and developed a process line based on the most advanced machinery, from Germany and Italy, and combined these with local systems (Kara, 2010). The architect and the client strived to find form-making solutions with the manufacturing process, keeping in mind the constraints of the site size, which is only 300 by 150 metres, and the line management procedures that had been developed by lpekyol (Kara, 2010).

This collaboration on site constraints and company requirements resulted in customised design objectives set out by the architect, thus setting a functional precedent for the Turkish factories and enhancing the image of Ipekyol. The site was fully exploited, while still allowing production to increase 30%-50%, by adapting a ‘U’-shaped production system for efficient flow of packaging and dispatch and prioritising an ‘internal dynamic’ experience blurring the hierarchy between administration, maintenance staff, and students (Mostafavi, 2011). The textile plant is organised with structural grids and five internal gardens of various sizes that create a safe work environment and encourage communication between various parts of the production system (Mostafavi, 2011). All wall finishes are exposed and lightly coloured to take advantage of the transparency of the building (Figure 5.8). Local materials were used in construction, and the material selection and rigorous detailing took into consideration durability and longevity. The increased height of the building and internal courtyards maximise daylight and thermal performance, reduce energy usage, and encourage natural ventilation. The structural innovation lies in the rigour, detailing, and quality of the final construction. One of the factory’s strongest features is a water pool that runs along the full length of the southern glazed wall and serves a dual purpose: it provides some cooling through evaporation during the summer and its reflection on the wall calmly welcomes visitors.

Ipekyol Textile Factory, Edirne, Turkey, by Emre Arolat Architects Source

Figure 5.8 Ipekyol Textile Factory, Edirne, Turkey, by Emre Arolat Architects Source: © Aga Khan Trust for Culture/Cemal Emden (photographer)

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