The “Roots” visitor center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is envisioned to exhibit the country’s local culture alongside it’s modern aspirations. Ethiopia, a diverse and ancient country with wild landscapes, contains to this day an authentic tribal culture alongside it’s modern day to day life.
In creating the architecture of the center, Ollech+Tol translated the values of antiquity into concrete form to create an abstraction of a tree’s roots. The structure is radial, creating a circular walkway that leads the visitor through a narrative process, from the beginning – the entrance lobby, through the exhibition spaces, a multi-purpose hall displaying content at 360 degrees, to the exit.
The architecture is a translation of the values of antiquity into concrete form
The structure is to be built with the use of advanced technology, utilizing lightweight materials, comprised of a steel structure with Corten panels and glass cladding. The glass curtain rising between the shells allows for the penetration of light , injecting light and animating the interior spaces. The Corten cladding of the shells render the structure with an “earthly” feel, grounding it in its local context. The visitor center is a monumental structure, growing from the ground and striving towards the heavens.