Located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the ‘Lideta Mercato’ brings a contemporary expression to the rapidly growing city. The vast carved volume connects two parallel streets that create the boundary of the plot. This diagonal connection creates a shortcut for pedestrians and places focus on the entrances of the building.
The six-year project by VILALTA Arquitectura will be used as a commercial complex. After analyzing the typical blueprint of malls in Addis Ababa, a recurrent design factor of these buildings is their entirely glazed façade. Combined with the hot climate, this leads to poor thermal conditions and overheating of the interior spaces. For this project, the architects adopted the approach seen in traditional open-air markets in Africa, leading to the Lideta Mercato to be conceived as a multi-leveled contemporary market place.
The striking envelope of the building takes into consideration of the local climate conditions and place. The façade acts as a protection from the harsh sun, controlling the natural light and ventilation into the internal spaces. Using a lightweight concrete prefab system, the perforated skin references a traditional Ethiopian fractal pattern commonly found in local fabrics. The passive ventilation system and controlled natural lightening created between the building’s layers and the interior atrium enables the interior space to be airy with a balanced illumination.
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