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British Council unveils designs for Ethiopia and Dubai

These are the first images of the British Council's in-house architecture team's new buildings for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and central Dubai.

The team, led by Emma Vergette, had to deal with very different design drivers for the two new buildings.

The Addis Ababa building (above) - a new 550m2 structure in the British Embassy compound which will house the British Council's resource centre - was designed with security in mind.

This resulted in a long, narrow building which will be set back from the main road with minimal glazing on the front facade.

The structure will also reuse the eucalyptus trees felled to clear the site, incorporating them in the facade.

Vergette said: 'We want the building to project an image of the contemporary UK, but have used the city of Addis Ababa as the source of reference for its architectural language.'

Sustainability was the driving force for the design of the Dubai building (below), a 1,200m2 headquarters for the British Council in the emirate.

The building, which will be dominated by a front facade featuring a gold-textured wall and a 20m-long stretch of recycled falling water, will use an innovative passive cooling system inspired by Arabian architecture.

The front facade will be topped by a series of tall, colourful banners which will help to create the illusion of a much bigger building.

Vergette said of this project: 'For many people the British Council offices are an introduction to the UK, and therefore it's vital for our offices to create a positive impression that reflects the UK as a truly modern and creative place.'

by Angus Montgomery

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