The Addis Abeba Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (AACCSA) has selected Universal Consultants Consulting Architects & Engineers as the winner of the design competition for the Addis Africa International Exhibition Centre.
In 2009, ETG Designers & Consultants was selected by the AACCSA as the winner of the design competition for the master plan of the Exhibition Centre, which is to be constructed on an 11ht plot of land in front of CMC. The site was leased by the AACCSA in March 2006, at a cost of 2,300 Br for a square metre for 90 years.
However, the board of directors rejected the design amid objections from the chamber’s members that it failed to meet international standards.
The chamber then approached nine consulting companies it had shortlisted, out of which seven participated in the competition. These were Abba Architects, Universal Consultants Consulting Architects & Engineers, Fasil Giorghis Consulting Architects & Planners, Bet Architects, Development Partners, Pace Consult, and Tamirat Eshetu Urban Planning & Building Design Consultants.
Universal Consulting came in first and received a cash prize of 40,000 Br, while Bet Architects and Fasil Giorghis Consulting placed second and third, respectively, winning cash in the amount of 25,000 Br and 15,000Br, in that order.
The private award ceremony was held at the chamber’s project office in Lideta District on May 24, 2011.
The jury comprised judges from the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction, and City Development (EiABC); the AACCSA; the Ethiopian Engineers & Architects Association; and Mateos Consult, which chaired the selection process.
The three companies were shortlisted based on their technical proposals before three members of the chamber took a representative from each company on a 15-day tour to Dubai, Hong Kong, and Milan for exposure to the international standards and qualities of similar constructions.
Upon their return, the candidates submitted their designs before the jury finally selected Universal Consult.
The consulting company had previously won the design competition for the headquarters of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) and Bank of Abyssinia (BoA).
“We are happy to have won the competition,” Destalem Haileselase, manager of Universal Consult, told Fortune. “Yet, we have a huge responsibility to transform the idea into practice.”
The entire construction is estimated to cost around 500 million Br. To date, the chamber has spent 7.5 million Br for the project, of which 4.8 million Br went toward leasing the land. It has not yet paid the full amount of 253 million Br.
Following the tour abroad, the delegation from the AACCSA was concerned about the size of the plot and requested an additional, adjacent plot from the city administration. The application has been denied because major construction of residential real estate is ongoing on the requested plots.
To recover its costs, the chamber plans to offer 51pc of the centre’s shares to the public, according to Ayalew Abe, project manager of the AACCSA.
The exhibition centre will have a meeting hall with the capacity to seat 5,000 people at a time and two auditoriums of which each would have the capacity of to hold 1,000 individuals. The 16,000sqm indoor pavilion would allow the chamber to conduct multiple exhibitions simultaneously. It will also have a five-star hotel, a shopping mall, restaurants, and a park.
“The chamber aspires for the exhibition centre to be a symbol of national pride for businesses people in Ethiopia and Africa because the project will enhance the potential of the AACCSA to organise large exhibitions,” Ayalew told Fortune.