10 Year Award of Excellence: African Union Headquarters and Conference Complex, Addis Ababa

Ewnetu Ferede
Senior Structural Engineer
African Union,

Lizhi Ren
Vice President & Chief Architect
Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd, Shanghai

An Adaptable Atrium with a Multiplicity of Functions

Inspired by traditional African architecture, the African Union Headquarters and Conference Complex features a dynamic circular motif, which is employed to form a centripetal overall layout and a spiraling volume, symbolizing the cohesion and influence of the African Union, and expressing the expectations of stability, unity, and common progress on the continent.

The completion of the African Union Headquarters and Conference Complex has greatly enhanced the influence of the African Union. Hundreds of meetings including the African Union Summit, Executive Council, Pan-African Conference, and various ministerial meetings are held in the building every year, where the African Union Commission and administrative departments are also set up. It has become a liaison of communication, collaboration, and development among African countries. The African Union Headquarters and Conference Complex has been the venue for many regional and international conferences and important events. It has also added great value to the growth of conference tourism, and promoted the development of local politics, economy and culture, and the renewal of urban functions.

The circular atrium has been exemplary as a social space and has demonstrable multifunctional adaptability, allowing it to host numerous temporary exhibitions. Energy-saving measures, involving natural ventilation, airflow organization, and purposeful shading, have resulted in 70 percent of the functional space being able to achieve high indoor comfort without air conditioning, and all of the indoor public spaces are able to rely entirely on natural sunlight instead of artificial lighting during the day. Solar energy facilities are equipped to provide environmental lighting and domestic hot water for the compound in a low-carbon manner, greatly reducing operation and maintenance costs.

View Building Information on CTBUH.org

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