A vertical multiplication of gardens and rooms.

When tasked with designing a project that occupies three adjacent but legally autonomous lots, the ground floor is used as a common denominator for three variations of one concept. The organizational strategy reinterprets a typical residential condition: most single-family houses in Addis Ababa are surrounded by outdoor rooms bounded by a perimeter wall. These compound types—called Ghebis—allow residents to frame semi-private activities that capitalize on the mild climate experienced throughout the year.

Each apartment comes with an interchangeable set of indoor and outdoor rooms.
The duplex and simplex variations of the Ghebi typology.

Since the turn of the millennium, Addis Ababa has predominantly operated as one continuous construction site. Most city blocks flaunt freshly poured concrete covered with fluctuating densities of eucalyptus scaffolding and colorful canvas. The concrete slabs of Ayat Apartments—much like the ones found throughout the city—negotiate between different levels of planar and sectional porosity. Their extended presence shades residential units from the sun, while providing space for the expansion of indoor and outdoor rooms.

Slab as uniting element for three buildings.
The staircases and outdoor rooms with their respective geometries demonstrate the similarities and differences between the three blocks.

Client: Private

Type: Multi-family Residential

Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Year: 2016–2017

Area: 13,500 Sq m

Team: Jen Wood, Emanuel Admassu, Yinong Tao, Violette Yang, Johnny Lin