COMPETITION 2009, 1st PRIZE, HEADQUARTER COMMERCIAL BANK OF ETHIOPIA, ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA designed by Henn Architekten
Solidity meets proximity: The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) is to construct a 42-storey building for its headquarters in Addis Ababa. The building will be the tallest building ever in Ethiopia. One of the fundamental values in banking is trust. Solidity and integrity are as much a part of trust as transparency and proximity to the customer. This duality finds expression in the mixture of open and more reserved elements of the design. On the longer sides of the slender office tower, a gap opens in the curtain facade to reveal the city from a new perspective. The reduced reflection of the glass skin here permits a contrasting glimpse inside the building. This openness continues to base level, where it reveals the entrance area. The tower is accompanied by a conference centre and a shopping mall. The buildings cluster around a sunken landscaped plaza.