While some see this optimistically, it is time to shout loud and clear that this is an agreement that is unlikely to solve anything. The global financial crisis that began in , and whose remnants are still felt strongly in countries facing full blown economic crises, was caused by two key factors. First: rising inequality, especially in the US, which caused those people with falling living standards to take out massive levels of debt, beyond what their income levels could later repay.
In doing so he built a solid relationship between the modern leisure building and the city, in spatial and cultural terms, giving architecture a public character that made it an integral part of the urban landscape. As the technical data were integrated into the architectural discourse, 18 it was gradually pared down to the essential elements, and the hierarchy of the parts that made up the whole became progressively clearer. The arrangement of the pool, the roof, the distinction between main spaces and service areas, the search for different solutions for the corner, the main prospect and the shading device on the terrace are the key steps through which the architect formed his design.
Great importance was assigned to the mechanisms that allowed the continuous rotation of the water, completely filtered twice a day.
Politecnico di Torino
The ongoing, self-administered professional training that the architect pursued was indispensable in searching for the most effective solutions, and these were never realized in a uniform language: each construction can be recognized only from the special domestic and urban conditions for which it was designed and built. Mezzedimi searched for recognition of his work in his home country. In the United Nations had approved a federation between Ethiopia and Eritrea that had effectively made the second a colony of the first. In order to contain social unrest, he constructed a series of buildings in Asmara, Massawa, and Assab, the main Eritrean cities, and to a lesser extent in Ethiopian rural areas.
Mariam church in Massawa, the St.
Michele church in Asmara. In this period Mezzedimi partially challenged his previous attachment to rationalism, expressing an unprecedented freedom that resulted in a entirely personal language.
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The radically different topographic conditions and the public importance of each project did not allow for a process of standardization, but called instead for a search for an architectural expression adapted to specific functional and climatic conditions. Religion has been a key element in the millennial history of Ethiopia, and the importance of the Coptic church, and of its relationship to and conflicts with Muslim minorities, should not be underestimated. Haile Selassie, being the emperor, was also the head of the Coptic church 26 and had to mediate his decisions through a complex system of relationships, negotiations, and concessions.
Basically [Haile Selassie] had, regarding worship, a complacent and prodigal attitude. The dome was positioned on three gigantic steps, each one with semicircular windows closed with wooden grids. Although some innovations were tested, particularly the use of modern construction materials, the final shaping of the building shows a traditional flavor.
The architect made use of his experience with the Massawa mosque, re-proposing the central dome this time with a Moorish shape but placing it on an octagonal tholobate with horizontally striped windows covered with wooden grids. The ground floor of the building shows an interesting modern evolution and is shaped like an enormous pattern of columns, with the diaphragm between internal and external spaces acting as a luminous element that fills the spaces between bold lancet arches. The arches lose their original constructive function and are intended as a matrix of concrete components that assume a three-dimensional structural value.
His hundred or more columns are faceted. But what makes the temple lines harmonious is the pattern of the arches that appears anywhere […] arches that seem more agile because pierced. The functional concept of the mosque is absolutely new […] it is raised from the ground to the height of a man, so the mass of the faithful, who will be covered but not closed, will be far from the eyes of the profane. Stephanos in Assab. One of the most interesting buildings, however, is the small Coptic church in the village of Debra Sina, a remote monastery on the mountain outskirts of Addis Ababa.
Here Mezzedimi faced, both physically and conceptually, one of the wonders of Ethiopian millennial culture, the astonishing rock-hewn churches that historians date back as far as the 2nd century AD and that are scattered throughout the nation. The new building designed by Mezzedimi is a pure cube in front of the existing chapel, built, due to the lack of infrastructural connections, entirely in stone carved from the nearby mountains. The modern building does not show any material discontinuity with the surroundings; it is the treatment of the material that differentiates the built structure from its context: the polish of the stone blocks gives the new church a perfectly smooth surface that contrasts with the hewn stone of the chapel, imperfect and wrinkled.
The different treatment is used to distinguish the two volumes without creating a clear break: the two chapels are, in this way, dimensionally comparable, establishing a close relationship between the ancient sphere and the modern cube. In Debra Sina, the new building is shaped spatially as a completion of the existing building.
Reading the two elements as a single sequence of spaces, it is possible to identify the exonarthex, with two misaligned entrance doors, the main hypostyle hall with a square plan, and finally the old chapel, which can be accessed through a filter space. He closely observed the many examples scattered throughout the immense imperial territory. Uniqueness becomes the rule.
His production of sacred buildings, in particular, is marked by only a few repeated elements, while their diversity is constant, dictated from time to time by the urban context, environmental conditions, or specific ceremonial needs. Mezzedimi immediately understood the tremendous scope of his task and decided to abandon his beloved Asmara and move definitively, with his staff, to Addis Ababa. The fact that it has long been entrusted to global experts, such as Mezzedimi, emphasizes not only the technical limitations of much of the continent but also its ability to absorb and internalize foreign influences, the prevalence of a cosmopolitan look, and the resilience of local traditions.
The history of modern architecture in Africa, in particular in the work of Mezzedimi, should be read not as a mere technical or cultural fact but as a precise political act in favor of the construction of a continent fully expressing its vitality in terms of development. The process of ideation and development of the building was not easy.
The final design solution was heavily influenced by the selection of a design area on a ridge along the monumental axis of Jubilee Road, requiring that the assembly hall be positioned directly on the road and the office building at the rear, as an ideal scenic background. The final design emphasizes the importance of the dome of the assembly hall, visible from all the offices, and of the wide, convex facade in constant visual dialogue with the eucalyptus forest that surrounds and envelops Addis Ababa. Volumetrically it is a truncated cone, with two upper galleries dedicated to the public and reporters, and a third isolated gallery for special guests.
The circular roof of the assembly hall, supported by small metal pillars that create a suspended effect, is particularly important in terms of aesthetics and climate comfort and is shaped like a gigantic truss whose every inclination is calculated as a function of solar reflection, the placement of artificial lighting, and the need for natural ventilation. Climate comfort became one of the main concerns shaping design decisions, reflecting the technical problem of building a high-occupation room in a tropical climate. Mezzedimi understood the impatience and stress of delegates forced to endure long sessions indoors in a warm and humid climate and decided to remedy this by breaking the strict division between interior and exterior spaces, thereby not clearly limiting the volume of the meeting room.
This design works well in the climate and in the environment, and represents with honor and authenticity the Italian school, even the Italian civilization, the Africa Hall is free from vulgarity, has taste and neatness and a quiet elegance.
More Italian-English translations of “in privato”
If the s were a period of apprenticeship and the s a time of searching for an autonomous design language, the s were years of professional maturity, reached at the impressive age of During this period Mezzedimi had the chance to work on key private and public designs in Addis Ababa, Asmara, and the rest of the country, fully reaching a rhythm of hyper-production. In this abundance of professional opportunities, the concrete risk was a search for vain distinction or arrogant uniformity that could lead to pretentious invention.
Mezzedimi managed to avoid this risk. He approached his innumerable tasks with decorum, measured sobriety, and a sense of moderation controlled by education, qualities that characterize all his buildings, even those conceived in the most challenging circumstances and exposed to potential criticism. The search for a right middle way is the essential component of the search for decorum, which is both an ethical and aesthetic ideal, a balance and respect of things, the desire to be fair and comply with the laws of behavior in order to achieve optimum moderation.
This condition was very present in a country with only two railways, a few highways left by the Italian occupation, and more than thirty airports with daily national, regional, and international flights.
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The City Hall 61 was positioned at the end of the road on a slope, and Mezzedimi imagined it, perhaps in memory of and tribute to his native Siena, like a civic palace, a multifunctional space fully dedicated to the community. The complex is made of three buildings, clustered in a close visual and functional relationship, that outline a square dominated by an imposing central tower and bounded by strong colonnades that extend symmetrically along the central axis.
The square and tower are the best examples of hybridization between traditional Italian architectural and urban elements and a modern aesthetic, adapted to the African context. The facade behind the tower consists of an imposing breathing wall, the architectural device that became an icon of modernist adaptation in the tropics, shaped with an elegant hexagonal pattern deformed to modulate the solar radiation in various parts of the building. Then there are the Nordic school with Norconsultant, designer of the chamber of commerce and a high number of other buildings and the study Enav-Tedros, 63 designer of the imposing building of the University Haile Selassie I, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Filoha baths.
We will not touch anything that is nice, we just want to put things in the proper order! Haile Selassie believed so firmly in the necessity of showcasing his nation to foreign observers that he constructed luxurious palaces in remote areas, an operation guided by the conviction later proved wrong that the best way to keep his nation united was to seek international recognition not only in Africa but on the global stage. The two palaces were imagined as places to host ambassadors from foreign states or important guests from companies working in the country.
The Tana Palace is a lodge overlooking the luxuriant nature that embraces Lake Tana. The structure is stilted and raised from the ground; the whole building is shaped with strong organic features that generate sinuous internal spaces and deep external covered terraces, affording guests a perfect view of the surroundings with maximal climate comfort.
Here the core of the house becomes an authentic watchtower, a place of contemplation that can be reached only via a circular ramp that allows the viewer to slowly discover the landscape. The Finfinne Building 69 is a twelve-story structure whose main facade juxtaposes a glass wall with the screen of a vertical brise-soleil , which develops seamlessly up the full height of the building. The two blind sides, fissured only by a long central cut, frame the brise-soleil, tightening the sides and setting the size for the frame.