Restoring a former Crown Prince palace

12 August 2014

Concrete.TV had an exclusive interview with Ethiopian architect, Fasil Gioroghis on how he in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut restored the palace of the former Crown Prince to preserve its history and legacy.

More about Fasil Giorghis:

Fasil is a practicing architect and lecturer at Addis Ababa University. For the past 25 years, he has been working on conservation and preservation of urban cultural sites. Fasil’s relationship with the Goethe-Institut in Addis Ababa started in the 1990s as he was interested in working on the restoration of an old building. The Goethe-Institut gave him the chance to travel abroad for further training. Throughout the years, they helped Fasil with organising exhibitions, lecture series and workshops on restoration. They even brought in other professionals to give training and supported publications. 

Fasil knew that the directors of the Goethe-Institut have always been interested in moving their office to a historical building and preserving it. This became a reality in the year 2000, when Dr. Dietrich Pohl asked him to search for a suitable cultural building. In addition to its historical importance, they wanted the building to be conveniently located, have enough room for language classes and enough space for exhibitions. After an extensive survey, they found the current site.

The current Goethe-Institut was built as a residence for Crown Prince Asfa Wossen Haile Selassie. However, it has also been used as the Supreme Court House, as Yekatit 66 Political School and finally as an administration office for the Faculty of Business and Education of Addis Ababa University. When they found it, the state of the building was poor, as it had been badly maintained. Some of the walls had holes and the roof was leaking. The whole concept of the renovation was to keep its authenticity, even while converting the residential building into a cultural centre and adding a new annex with a connection of a courtyard. They learned a lot from the existing building about how to create a connection between the old and new. During the restoration, the Goethe-Institut raised the money and the staff worked hard.

Filmed on location at UIA Architecture Otherwhere – Durban 2014

Filmed by: www.Concrete.TV and produced by Nawaal Deane

Text edited by: Adrienne Taylor 

Twitter: @_concretetv
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