Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

BET Architects snatch Hawassa University expansion design

BET Architects PLC has won a bid to design a major component of an expansion project

Hawassa University will soon undertake. Hawassa University wishes to build a new university grounds including a facility it named Yirgalem Campus, for which it solicited design proposals. The university was aided by the Association of Ethiopian Architects [AEA] to select from seven entries for the three projects; civil engineering laboratory, administration building, and dormitory. The competition resulted in a big win for BET which, partnering with an international firm, has also sealed the deal to design Ethiopian Airlines’ headquarters in February. BET took the largest of the three projects to draw a facility that houses buildings including students’ dormitory. Yohannes Abay came in second, and Sileshi Consult took third place in the competition. “BET Architects won the competition having fulfilled the client’s requirement. BET had proposed a campus development plan, and the dormitory block arrangement had better facilities for both genders; it also made the new design engage well with the existing block,” said Biruk Tefera, secretary of AEA. According to Tesfamariam Teshome, a senior partner at BET Architects, ‘Unity in Diversity’ is a theme the firm undertook to sketch the winning design that consists of dormitory, library, staff and administration office, class rooms, and others. “Individual buildings celebrating their diversity are united by the nature and common characteristics running through all the buildings. The library and other common functions are taken as a focal point to unite students, who come from different ethnic group and regions, both functionally and physically,” says Tesfamariam of the winning conceptual sketch. “Having this purpose, the library block is done in a hybrid form, sharing colors, forms and character from all the buildings around. The site nature characterized by diversified local trees, coffee, and ‘Enset’ [false banana] is intentionally used as a uniting element, embracing buildings and open spaces and also passing through most of the buildings.” The construction project, which BET will supervise as part of the deal, is estimated to cost about 150 million birr with a life time of 24 months. “Now we are awarded the project, it is time to enter into financial negotiations. We will ask for four months to prepare detailed design,” Tesfamariam told Capital on Tuesday. BET is a private firm founded by Tesfamariam and his founding partner Daniel Alemayehu; both are teaching at the architecture school in Addis Ababa University for the last twenty years.