The project is born through the client’s desire to build a lodge completely disconnected from the frantic city life, where the guests could be surrounded by nature and enjoy the view of the spectacular mountains punctuated with rocky churches of the Gheralta massif, in northern Ethiopia.
The lodge is designed bearing in mind the all-Italian concept of the “albergo diffuso”, which means literally “widespread hotel”. Rather than being a single large structure, this receptive form consists of multiple smaller buildings, which are dislocated along the paths and lanes that become open-air horizontal connections.
Thus, allowing the total enjoyment of the surroundings, nature and architecture merge, offering breath-taking views.
The constructions take on the concept of the central courtyard, used in traditional local architecture. In a hostile environment burned by the sun and beaten by the wind, man seeks shelter. Home is an enclosed space and the void on the inside is its fulcrum; the traditional patio is looking up to the sky.
To achieve a synthesis between modernity and tradition, as well as pursue a strategy of durability and cost reduction, we decided to rely on local materials, the same ones used for centuries by the Tigrinya farmers: dry-stone walls, wooden ceilings and green roofs.
Thanks to the exclusive use of this native technology, tailored for the semi-arid climate, comfort is guaranteed inside the buildings.
Architect: Nicole Cieri Architects
Local architect: RAAS Architect, Addis Ababa, ET
Electrical design works: FASTEK Consult plc, Addis Ababa, ET
Sanitary & Mechanical design works: SANMECH Consult plc, Addis Ababa, ET
Contractor: Elmi Olindo Contractors plc, Addis Ababa, ET
Photographs: Nicole Cieri, Paola Viesi