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Advance Studio: From Content to Container, Fall 2016 

Advisor: Emanuel Admassu

“This studio examines the notion of architecture as the difference between ‘content’ and ‘container’. ‘Content’ is defined by a selection of architectural concepts that from the period 1978-1988, while ‘container’ will be defined by the analysis of a specific site of contestation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The definitions for “failure”as it pertains to the discipline of architecture (content) and the cityof Addis Ababa (container) are developed along the process.

The studio define urban manifestations of ‘failure,’ by analyzing precise moments along the historical evolution of Addis Merkato. Participants will use the current Local Development Plan as a starting point to investigate the critical debates, power struggles and design decisions that have contributed to the on-going urbanization of the site.

Accepting the zoning requirement to build every block up to aminimum of five stores, the studio collectively engage the market’stransition from a horizontal patchwork of shops to a collection
of malls. New mall ‘types’ are invented by subjecting them to theconstraints of the market and the city.”1

The project is collaborated with Jeff Yinong Tao.

1. Admassu, Emanuel. “Content and Container.” 2016 Fall Advance Studio. StudioIntroduction. Providence: Rhode Island School of Design, Architecture Department, 2016.1-3. Print 

content and container

Merkato is shaping and shaped by numerousmerchandises of different varieties, the buyers

and sellers from time to time. Shoppers navigatethrough diverse conditional space that is restrainedby negotiable shop boundaries and impassablestructured components. The marketplace istransforming from day to night, shaped by floatingevents and shifting unregistered trading activities.By examining the occupible space as solid, andmovement trace as an action of carving, this drawingdemonstrate a 20-second circulation pattern of ageneric crossing point on site. 

sample analysis

Two samples that were referenced and studied arethe Kunsthal by OMA, and Neue Staatsgalerie byJames Stirling. This collage explain the circulationreference to the mall, where the circular void (fromStaatsgalerie) serve as connection piece to link allthe ramped floors (from Kunsthal). 

The mall is a volume which formed by two staggered rectangular boxfollowing by adjacent street grids, as well as assemble the horizontalmercato programs.

Two different organizing systems are developed along two differentstreet grids. The area where the two systems overlap serves asconnection node. It hosts linear, ramping, and vertical circulation, andact as a non-program space where allows all types of interactions. 

From one end, the interior quality shiftsfrom formal to informal in a gradient movingaway from the solid wall. From larger shopswith permanent vertical structure to smallmerchandise stands with temporary sepa-rations, the order demonstrates an infinitiveextension that connects markato with mall.At the other side, the gradient of formalityexpand sectionally on a continuous floor plate, with flat surface hosting more organizedand static programs at top levels, and slopingplatform hosting more scattered and fluidprograms toward the ground floor.

The two different systems are used to organizethe interior mall space, with the wall serves as the envelope to organize the mall; thus themall expand from inside out, extend to themarkato street boundarylessly.

Double elevations along the between wall space, demonstratestwo different systems on facades,and its interaction with publicramps and sky bridges.

The Mall is a negotiation between theexisting street condition and organizedinterior space. Using ramps as anextension of horizontal slab to achievea continuous circuit through verticalaxis. The mall should contain differentspatial conditions from the existing andaddress the complexity in organizedways.

From larger shops with permanentvertical structure, to smallermerchandise stands with temporaryseparations, programs are organizedwith rigid and flexible breathing zones.Vehicles are able to enter the mall andweave throughout four different levelswith ramps, which provide another setof program types related to vehicularpath and sloping floor and ceilingspace. Stair and sloping floor plates areinserted to further diversify programspaces. Circular nodes are used as majorconnection and gathering points toserve linear and vertical circulation. 

Using Format