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Competition: Czech embassy in Addis Ababa

An international student ideas contest has been announced for the Czech Republic’s new embassy in the capital of Ethiopia (Deadline: 12 June)

Open to architecture students from around the world, the competition seeks innovative proposals for a 2,300m² complex featuring an embassy building, ambassadorial residence, consulate and visa office, staff apartments, and construction workers’ housing.

The call for concepts is organised by the Department of Architecture of the Czech Technical University in Prague on behalf of the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Inspireli Awards. The overall winner will receive €2,000 and see their scheme constructed with a plaque acknowledging their role in the initial conceptual design.

Contest site

Contest site

Contest site

According to the brief: ‘The Czech Embassy complex in Addis Ababa will be a business card of the Czech Republic. Its mission will be primarily to express the cultural level of the state and the traditions of Czech architecture within the European and the world context of cultural heritage.

‘The prerequisites for the architectural design are its expressive timelessness, high quality of execution, rational layout and the choice and use of adequate materials while sticking to the typological attributes of purpose-built buildings (offices and residences) for diplomatic missions. The architectural solution must also comply with basic safety, economic and, above all, user and operational requirements.’

Addis Ababa is the capital and largest city of Ethiopia with around 3.3 million inhabitants. Located around 2,355m above sea level in the Ethiopian Highlands, the settlement borders the Great Rift Valley.

The Czech embassy is currently located on a small parcel of land west of the National Palace in the centre of the city. The new embassy is proposed for an undeveloped suburban 13,300m² site at Bole Kifle Ketema Kebele.

Proposals should be no higher than four storeys and feature an entrance building, embassy building featuring an ambassadorial residence, a consulate and visa section, staff apartments and housing for the construction workers. Leisure facilities and an external garden for events will also be required.

Submissions should include a perspective image, site plan, floor plans, two sections, elevations and a textual description. The judging panel features Mikuláš Hulec from the Czech Technical University and Otto Dvořák of the Inspireli Awards.

The overall winner, to be announced on 1 October, will receive €2,000 and a plaque honouring their conceptual role in the design of the competed building. A second prize of €1,500 and third prize of €1,000 will also be awarded.

How to apply


The deadline for applications is 12 June

Contact details

Visit the competition website for more information

British High Commission Dar Es Salaam case study: Q&A with The Manser Practice

The London studio discusses lessons learned designing a new British High Commission in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

How did your project deliver a landmark new base for the British High Commission in Dar Es Salaam?

The Dar Es Salaam project was unusual in that it housed the diplomatic missions for four European countries; some facilities like meeting rooms being shared, other more discrete areas being separate. It was therefore a large building standing out on the Dar streetscape and we tried to make it as ‘welcoming ‘ as possible while fulfilling the very rigorous security concerns. Simple office plates were clad in a skin of louvres providing both solar shading and privacy but giving the building a more gentle elevation.

British High Commission Dar Es Salaam by The Manser Practice

British High Commission Dar Es Salaam by The Manser Practice

British High Commission Dar Es Salaam by The Manser Practice

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

Louvres were used over the whole external skin and much of the external structure was rendered. Specialist security equipment, such as blast-resistant windows, was manufactured in Europe. As far as possible, as with our British Embassy in Zimbabwe, we used local materials and finishes and local skills.

British High Commission Dar Es Salaam by The Manser Practice

British High Commission Dar Es Salaam by The Manser Practice

British High Commission Dar Es Salaam by The Manser Practice

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a new Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ethiopia?

Most embassies now occupy a secure compound; landscaping is therefore important using indigenous planting. The complex needs to be secure from terrorist threat but also both a pleasant environment to work in and to visit. Reconciling these two requirements in a building which also needs to positively ‘represent’ it’s nation abroad is difficult.

British High Commission Dar Es Salaam by The Manser Practice

British High Commission Dar Es Salaam by The Manser Practice

British High Commission Dar Es Salaam by The Manser Practice

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