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Revamping Sheger Competition

Presentation of concept designs
Summary: Tinsae Tsegahun
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In response to the open concept competition organized by LBDC, the 38th Architects ወርሃዊ session, with the title “Revamping Sheger,” was held at Addis Hall in front of Meskel Square. Two teams of multidisciplinary professionals presented their concept design proposal to the public.

To build tertiary hospitals, seven-star hotels, innovation centers, and an international convention center on the under-utilized plots, LBDC, a division of the recently established Ethiopian Investment Holdings (EIH), plans to look for partners. The projects will be built by private sector partners, and it is hoped that they will provide funds. The Holdings and the Corporation will contribute the land parcels, making them shareholders in the projects.

In February 2021, LBDC published an expression of interest for the redevelopment of federal landholdings in Addis Ababa situated along the “Bole-Entoto” and “Leghar -City hall” strips, with a well-specified scope.

Participation was strongly welcomed from any group of individuals or firm made up of diverse professionals, mainly civil engineers, architects, economists, sociologists, environmentalists, land managers and administrators, lawyers, and information techs. Another requirement was that companies interested in entering the concept design competition, including those founded by diverse experts and teams, had to be prepared to participate in at least three different competition hubs. After teams of 11 interested candidates stated their interest in the concept competition, the EoI submission was formally closed by May 2021.

The Corporation has chosen five hubs to carry out the investment project. The initial Bole hub encompasses both government offices and Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority landholdings. The second hub is made up of public landholdings that span from Wolo Sefer to Bole Dembel, the home of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, and from there to Ghion Hotel, the corporation’s third option. The fourth hub includes landholdings from Ghion to the Ministry of Education, while the final hub includes landholdings from Arat Kilo (Ministry of Education) to Sidist Kilo (Planning and Development Commission).

In the first phase open competition, two of the 11 teams who exhibited interest submitted design concepts that are still on display in Addis Hall as a part of a public exhibition. The groups first presented their ideas to the federal land holdings on the roads from Bole Airport through Meskel Square, the Stadium, and Churchill Avenue to the Addis Ababa City Municipality office; the second proposal was made on the roads from Bole Airport through Estifanos Church, Arat Kilo, and the Entoto.

Lensa Mekonnen, LBDC CEO, stressed during the session that they would be able to increase their land holdings with the private sector and develop investment concepts that have strong foundations and are in accordance with market expectations owing to the design concept competition. Institutions will be moved to a location where they can coordinate and streamline community services.

Benyam Ali Architects was one of the companies that offered a concept design for a plot arranged under the four hubs. The Corporation chose Addis Ababa Stadium as one of the five hubs along the route from Ghion Hotel to Mexico Square, and Benyam, General Manager of the firm, presented a schematic plan for the region surrounding the stadium. A proposal for an alternative energy source, several farms, and other social interventions are all included in the design, along with educational institutions, hospitality injections, affordable housing, hot spring gardens, and new convention centers that can hold up to 45,000 people. In the proposal for the second hub, which extends from Sidist Kilo to Entoto Polytechnic College, an innovation area with 15,000 dwelling units is to be built.

The Dream Factory Plc, the firm that submitted the second concept for the plots organized into three hubs, was founded three years ago. Three architects are the team leaders among the 11 professionals the team assigned to the project. The promotion of conference tourism was the main focus of their concept design.

Their research claimed that vast plot areas are under-utilized and that the hubs they selected had a greater historical and educational value. The team’s concept design emphasized the value of technology and therefore suggested a multipurpose smart center with sporting facilities and conference halls that eliminated existing bounded spaces while maintaining continuity.

The winner’s design will be turned into an investment project after the competition, with project duration and cost determined by the coming year. The plans will then be made available to developers who want to build the region following the strategy.

The goal of the exhibit in Addis Hall was to gather opinions from city residents that would be used as input during the assessment phase. A jury made up of specialists from the Corporation, academics from universities, and independent professionals will make the final decision.

We appreciate Semawit Ayele, for planning yet another event at Addis Hall. We’ll see you all at the upcoming Architects ወርሃዊ session, and don’t forget to take the necessary safety measures to protect your loved ones and yourself from Covid-19. //

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© July, 2024 Ketema Journal

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