Lalibela community center

Lalibela (Etiopia) , 2008

Design: 2000-2006

Execution: 2006-2008

The project consisted in transforming an existing building into an exhibition and cultural centre for the community and for cultured tourists visiting Lalibela.

This building, once shared by a local cultural association and the local police force, was in a state of decay and has been rehabilitated and extended to house its new functions.
The ARCCH, the EU Delegation and the planners intend this building to become an informative complement to visiting the churches, as well as a place where the local community can socialize and carry out in-depth study.

A large museum on the first floor – added to the existing building – houses treasures previously kept in the churches and now exhibited and duly illustrated: manuscripts, vestments, crosses and various objects discovered over the years, set in a specifically designed exhibition itinerary. To protect its contents the museum is equipped with anti-intrusion devices and air conditioning. On the ground floor there is a two room guesthouse for important visitors, a bar-restaurant, a library, a reading/computer room etc. We have also planned a large hall seating 130 that could be used for conferences and films. But substantially it will be a multifunctional hall that opens out onto the spectacular natural scenery around it and therefore be suitable for dance and for religious and secular celebrations. The covering of this hall reprises the architecture and technology of the church shelters.

We used local materials, which is to say tufa and stone, and faced the additional parts with eucalyptus trunks to recall the old house-building system, but handled in a “modern” way. We feel that this place, properly managed, could be financially self-sufficient and become an attraction for tourists who want exhaustive information about Lalibela, want to see things never seen before, attend lectures and documentaries, watch shows and, not least important, socialise with the local people.

Committente: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture. Authority for Research & Conservation of Cultural Heritage of Ethiopia. ARCCH.
Finanziato da: EU Commission

Progetto architettonico: arch. Claudio Baldisserri, ing. Lorenzo Sarti, arch. Aldo Aymonino (Teprin Associati).
strutture: prof. ing. Massimo Majowiecki.

rilievi topografici: ingg. Mario Chinni, Michele Ansaloni, Massimo Matteini, Alessandro Farolfi;
consulente esperto in idrogeologia: dott. Leonardo Lombardi;
project manager: ing. Mario Sarti.

Staff tecnico: arch. Silvio D'Amore, arch. Stefania Bulzoni, arch. Samantha Cicognani, arch. Ottavia Sarti ing. Alessandro de Laurentiis, ing. Stefano Dosi.

Direzione lavori: Teprin Associati con ing. Tiziano Dapretto, MH Engineering (Consulente)

Imprese: Endeco Spa and Icom Engineering in Joint Venture.

Foto: Ottavia Sarti