It has been almost six months since our last update on Mesqel square and rather noticeable progress has been made on the overall appearance of this prominent public space.
According to the project architect, majority of the work on the square is near completion. We have noticed that the steps are being carefully put in place, shops and internal block works have also commenced. In addition, all supply and installation of electrical and firefighting systems are being completed. The remaining upper floor slab at the right corner of the site will be casted in a few weeks of time.
The multi-functional and distinctive feature of the square, the steps, are designed to support standardized, diverse sporting, leisure and religious activities that the square is famous for.
The amphitheater steps are now built to incorporate ergonomically sound details on the steps: including features for inclined & declined pushups, and triceps dips.
Another important aspect of this project is the 3.5km pedestrian development from Mesqel square all the way to the Addis Ababa City Hall. The architect noted that this is first of its scale urban intervention that attempts to make a readable pattern on one of the historically significant avenues of Addis Ababa. It aims to create public spaces from Piassa to Meskel square while activating the business corridors. The goal is to rehabilitate Churchill as the middle-and upper-class interaction plaza once again by upgrading the environment through creation of well designed, clean and interactive public spaces.
Accordingly, pedestrian roads as wide as 10m length are being paved. Parking buildings around Tewodros roundabout are being built and green spaces are sufficiently being incorporated in the project.
Parking buildings are utilitarian by design. We feel such infrastructure should be complemented with commercial activities to avoid miss use or abandonment as such functions are relatively new to our context.
Though cutting through the storefronts of Churchill avenue to provide arcades and avert demolition is commendable, we wish to stress on seamless integration of the street with the buildings to guarantee an uninterrupted flow of pedestrians up and down the steep slopes of the avenue.