ETG Designers – Contributing to the Rise of Modern African Architecture in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s architectural journey has been somewhat different from those of other African countries. Ethiopia and Liberia are the two nations in Africa that were never colonized. Other African countries tend to follow structural plans initiated by the various administrations that were in place before their independence. 

Emperors ruled Ethiopia from 1270 to 1974. During this period, Ethiopia built a rich heritage, with various historical monuments representing important periods. They include castles, churches, and pilgrim sites. 

Unfortunately, these historical sites have left Ethiopia in a bind. Rural-urban migration has increased more dramatically as young Ethiopians move to the city searching for education, employment, and better living conditions. 

In a bid to modernize the cities and accommodate the rise in population, particularly in the capital Addis Ababa, the government has been forced to make tough decisions. Preserve the historical sites at the expense of modern African architecture or destroy the rich history and create modern structures? 

African architects offered a third alternative; growing the city upwards. 

Today, highrise buildings are changing Ethiopia’s skyline as the country adopts modern African architecture designs for residential and commercial use. 

Projects under ETG Designers

ETG has contributed significantly to the growth of modern African architecture for more than two decades. The founder, Dr. Eshetu T. Gelan, believed Ethiopia was ready for an infrastructural change that he and his team have brought to pass with various elegant building designs brought to life in various parts of the country. 

Today, ETG has a team of more than 150 professionals who handle architectural designs, project management, and urban planning. In 2017, in a bid to improve productivity and efficiency, ETG became an employee-owned share company. 

Some of the notable projects created by the African architects at ETG include;

Wegagen Bank Headquarters

The Wegagen Bank Headquarters has 23 floors and is estimated to be 107 metres high. Once the ETG’s design was approved, construction of this highrise building began in 2013 and was completed in 2017. The floor area is approximately 37,000m2

ODDA Tower

ODDA Tower is a mixed-use building with 14 floors. It has three basements, a ground floor, and ten floors above ground. Upon completion, the project was estimated to have cost 46 million Ethiopian Birr. The building houses a bank, a mall, cafes, and restaurants. 

Lideta Church Building

The Lideta Church Building is a mixed-use building. The lower floor is for commercial use, while the upper floors have sufficient church and office space. This building was completed in the 1990s, but it has a futuristic design that fits in with buildings being built in Ethiopia today. At its completion, the building had cost 35 million Ethiopian Birr. 

Amhara Credit & Savings Building

This construction of this 36-storey building starter in 2016 and is expected to be complete in 2021. The building has four basements, a ground floor, mid-level, and 25 floors. The design fits the plan African architects have devised to change Ethiopia’s skyline over the past few years. 

The architect came up with this design that rightly gives the impression that the upper floors are held up and supported by the lower levels. The gross floor area, upon its completion, will be 72,000m2. 

This building is expected to have a section set aside for residential use and another as a commercial centre for retail stores and offices. 

Ministry of Industry Buildings

The Ethiopian government is also focused on having modern building designs for the various ministries. The Ministry of Industry commissioned various buildings on one site to improve service delivery. The African architects at ETG Designers proposed three buildings, two 20-storey buildings, and one 16-storey building. 

These buildings have five basements to provide sufficient parking space for the employees and visitors. Upon completion, these buildings cost 1,5 billion Ethiopian Birr. 

Adama Studio

This 10-storey stadium is under construction and is expected to seat 80,000 people when complete. The design is functional and aesthetic. With a gross area of 290,000m2, this is undoubtedly a huge project expected to cost 6 billion Ethiopian Birr upon its completion. 

Sengatera 40/60

The Ministry of Urban Development, Housing & Construction requested the team at ETG to come up with an ideal African architecture design for modern homes for Ethiopians and visitors in Addis Ababa.

Each of the 16 storey apartment blocks has two basements and two utility floors. This building design has several condominium blocks, categorized according to the number of bedrooms. 

The 4-bedroom condominiums have a floor area of 168m2. The 3-bedroom apartments have a gross floor area of 157m2, and the 2-bedroom apartment covers an area of 137m2. An elevator is installed in each building block to ease movement to the upper floors. 

The architects recommended the use of locally sourced building materials to keep the cost low. This project was estimated to cost 130 million Ethiopian Birr. 


80% of Ethiopia’s historical sites are under the protection of UNESCO. The architects at ETG designed the UNESCO building in Addis Ababa. It is a modern structure that will house the administration offices of UNESCO. 

Understandably, as Ethiopia moves towards a modern era of African architecture, the government hopes to preserve its rich history for future generations. This project is expected to cost 73 million Ethiopian Birr. 

ETG Designers have also participated in various African architecture competitions and performed well. For example, the company’s design for the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia Head Office Building was considered the second-best. 

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