Friends and Colleagues, a special celebration Architects ወርሃዊ session was conducted on Thursday, October 6, 2022 at the Urban center in honor of the Architects’ ወርሃዊ 4th year anniversary, 40th session, and World Architecture Day. Selamawit Ayele noted that while no presentations were scheduled for the day, the session was intended to be a networking opportunity as well as a day to consider what should change for next sessions. A projector showed the session from the earliest days, when only a few people showed up, to present days, when more people are interested in attending.
Semawit began by going over the postures of the session and continued by describing the influential architectural projects, urban design projects, and urban planning projects that were presented during the session, starting with the first networking session and moving through the “structure plan of Addis Ababa and La gare,” the “addis ababa river project,” the “meskel square project,” the “New Beginnings urban art installation project,” the “revamping sheger project,” and the “NES reconstruction project.”
All physical sessions had to be canceled following the Covid hit, and only live sessions could continue. In the previous four years, architects ወርሃዊ —including the 40th session—had 33 in-person meetings and 7 online meetings. The session sponsors were also highlighted, along with the session locations, which ranged from the home of Architects – the Urban center to the Hilton hotel to the recently completed Amabassador Mall. Semawit went on to explain how architects ወርሃዊ are interacting with the media through an active Telegram channel and summarized publications in the Ketema Journal magazine and Arch Pages from the Association of Ethiopian Architects’ bimonthly newsletter.
Zeleke Belay and Amanuel Teshome received a certificate of recognition from Habtamu Getachew, the current president of the AEA, for their efforts in organizing and running the previous sessions. When accepting his award, Zeleke Belay explained how the program was started and said, “If we want change in the architectural sector, then the architects should gather and communicate.” He claims that all began when he met with Amanuel Teshome and just created a Telegram channel. Zeleke concludes by saying “Architects understand design, therefore let’s come together, communicate, and work as a team. We all reflect on and discuss our projects in class back in school, which helped us produce excellent work. Consequently, architects gathering and guiding design while educating the public will help the profession thrive and lead.’’
Amanuel said that while it was challenging to manage and maintain the schedule, it was all worthwhile when he saw the sessions taking place. And now that new architects are seeing the value of the program and contributing, their engagement and workload are reducing. In his closing remarks, he expresses gratitude to the AEA for the honor, saying that it is now a leadership platform for young architects.
The certificates were also awarded to the organizers, facilitators, previous presenters, sponsors, and partners. Jaguar World received a special commendation certificate for sponsoring 11 sessions, and Urban Center for providing the facility for the sessions. When receiving the recognition, Maheder Gebremedhin, director of the Urban Center, stated that when they first established the urban center, they discussed with hundreds of people about having 10 pillars for structuring the urban center, one of which was to have monthly venting sessions for architects, planners, designers, and interior designers to meet and talk on a regular basis. And when the Architects ወርሃዊ initiators instigated the proposal, they were glad to embrace it as they only required to provide the venue now. In the next sessions, they intend to make the session more informal and to make some adjustments to the arrangement.
World Architecture Day 2022 (3 October 2022) had the theme “Architecture for Well-Being.” The subject is congruent with the UIA’s designation of 2022 as the Year of Design for Health, as well as the Union’s commitment to using evidence-based design to enhance health in buildings and communities. Since the 40th session also served as a kickoff for the commemoration of World Architecture Day, AEA and Architects ወርሃዊ will commemorate and have a session on World Architecture Day in the following years.
Habtamu Getachew presented the newly elected AEA executive committee’s yearly calendar, goals, objectives, administrative, and financial instructions. He stated that the team has established seven committees as part of the structural goal of the AEA: the membership committee, the AEA award committee, the professional service standard and fee committee, the education and registration committee, the building permit and ethics committee, the constitution and chapter committee, and the publication and documentation committee. And asked the participants to submit a form to the committee they desire to join.
Habtamu also discussed the AEA’s impending involvement, as well as planned special assignments and competitions. The Mohammadali House, once the property of a wealthy Indian businessman and featuring prominent Indian and Arabian architectural elements was built around 1900 in Addis Ababa, 14 years after the city’s founding and only eight years after Emperor Menelik II declared it the Ethiopian capital. Habtamu indicated that the ministry of culture and tourism handed over this home in Piassa to the association to repair and restore and use as an office.
Dawit Benti suggested that Amharic be used as the working language for architects, saying that the committee should take this into consideration if they want the public to embrace and comprehend their work. And requested that the calendar, objective, and approach be made public so that the members may offer feedback based on the shared materials. Additionally, the organization should publicize itself more in the media since it will attract more readers and attention.
Amanuel Teshome gave the closing remarks for the session, expressing the hope that architect’s ወርሃዊ must maintain a balance between providing events for a variety of age groups and holding interactive sessions as opposed to lectures. To invite and utilize the available architects, as much as they could.
We appreciate Semawit Ayele, for planning this joyful occasion at the Urban Center. We hope you can make it to the next Architects ወርሃዊ event. We’ll see you all there, and don’t forget to take the required safety measures to guard your loved ones and yourself from Covid-19. //