a project of SCALING DOWN at EIABC and "Welcome to Africa" at EiABC and BAUHAUS university weimar in 2013

You can visit the SICU wikipedia page to get detailed information on construction methods, drawings and assembly: 

Project Background

EiABC academic research exchange based on a Housing prototype

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Settlements around Kebele 38 , Woreda 04, Lideta Sub-City ,area in the heart of Addis Ababa  (area for implementation of SICU)

SICU- Sustainable Incremental Construction Unit is the second experimental process oriented building prototype which also deals with participatory design to be done on a highly dense neighborhood of Addis Ababa in 2013. It will be a show case where the team of students with their tutors will research and explore possibilities of designing and realizing an incremental housing unit in an urban context.

SICU is part of The “welcome Africa” project 2012- 2015 at DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) which is an international academic research project between the Ethiopian, South Sudanese and German universities.

This research program's aim is to strengthen the collaboration in research and practical experiences and competency to bring together contemporary building technology with real circumstances. The project includes the realization of three experimental prototypes in scale 1:1 in the years 2011- 2015.

In 2012 the first material oriented building prototype SECU - Sustainable Emerging City Unit - was realized in three months only introducing the potential of highly compressed straw panels (/see: http://eiabc.edu.et/secu-project/); the third prototype will integrate the environmental constrains in a holistic design and realization process. It will be placed in Juba - South Sudan coordinated by the experts and researchers from EiABC.2014.

Realization Background

Constructing Alternatives in Housing for informal settlements in Addis Ababa

Hundreds of new settlements are emerging in Ethiopia every year, growing fast into urban conglomerates. The current state of Ethiopia’s urban centers can be characterized by the booming developments in the construction sector.

Addis Ababa is one of the cities in Africa, which is heavily affected by extremely fast and unique Urbanization. It is one of those cities with a rapid increase in population, where by the cityscape is changing at a very fast pace. These changes leave permanent footprints in the city.

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SICU Real site : Woreda 04, Kebele 38 discussions with the ­community on how to go about the site construction and the site construction implementation Memorandum of Understanding, signed between EiABC (Scientific Director Joachim Dieter) & the Executive Director (Ato Halafom) of the Woreda 04, Lideta Sub-city, Addis Ababa.

Project Objectives & Targets

  • to combine theoretical knowledge with practical training for higher education at EiABC(training students with realistic parameters of a site and building construction system)
  • to create a link of trust between the involved students, researchers and the community
  • to contribute on a fair and alive society, where everyone has the opportunity needed to develop their capacities and fully exercise their own housing thoughts.
  • to promote community development and participation
  • to promote critical reflection for further implementations
  • to consider locally available material resources and the local mode of living - introducing innovative construction techniques.
  • to serve the purpose of the government whilst realizing the design potentials of the students, researchers and the community, offering parallel strategies to the existing governmental housing project in the city

Based on these objectives SICU test house has been implemented in the premises of EiABC campus, at the Urban Laboratory. Students are carrying out construction tasks to learn from the construction techniques they have designed,while they are implementing them on this construction site.

SICU Project Team

is an international team with delegates from all the three partners

Project Head          Prof. Dr.Ing. Dirk Donath (Chair of Building Construction)
Project architect Brook Teklehaimanot (Chair of Architecture and Design I)
Project + Site management Jakob Mettler
Project assistant DI Timo Riechert / MA Emanuel Longomiya
Structural  engineer Peter Dissel, (Afro-European-Engineers)
Additional design / public relation MA Helawi Sewnet
Finance and Procurement Sarah Abdulhafiz
Design Modeling and Rapid Prototyping Fahmi Girma
Student assistants Seyume Weldeyesus / Aknaw Yohannes / Dagmawi Tilahun
Site Works Facilitator Messay Menweyelet

SICU Project Partners

Bauhaus University Weimar Prof. Dipl.Ing. Dipl.Des. Bernd Rudolf
Faculty of Architecture Timo Riechert, Dr. Frauke Anders
icebauhaus weimar Joern Schultz

Planning and Construction Process

concept & design
test house at the campus
preparation of the site
implementation on the site
final state





December 2012 – design and concepts

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incremental space concept / solid ground floor – lightweight first floor / inspirations from the locals

January 2012 – proofed design

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step by step assembling – building information modeling

January 2013 – tests and experiments

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concrete – frames – joints and connections

February 2013 – prefabrication






prefab concrete elements (foundations and colums)

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light frame timber elements (secondary beams and first floor frames)

March 2013 – asseembling test house

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superstructure assembled in 5 days (date: 5th April 2013)

April 2013 – finishing test house

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gradually implementation of the rain screen and flooring

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April – May 2013 – improvement and further tests

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improved formwork for mass production, new casting procedure, cladding tests

May 2013 – site preparation

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clearance and leveling the site at Kebele 38 / Woreda 4

June 2013 – site preparation

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preparation of the site: gravel, foundations, columns / new building elements for later assembling

July 2013 – prefabrication of further building elements

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landing panels / further concrete formwork / staircase stringer / terrazzo for ground floor /

August 2013 – rain season (break)

no pictures will be published

September 2013 – assembling: workshop 19.09 - 28.09

day 1: 19.September 2013

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comments and description will coming soon

day 2: 20.September 2013

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comments and description will coming soon

day 3: 21.September 2013

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comments and description will coming soon

day 4: 22.September 2013

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comments and description will coming soon

day 5: 23.September 2013

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comments and description will coming soon

day 6: 24.September 2013

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comments and description will coming soon

day 7: 25.September 2013

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comments and description will coming soon

day 8: 26.September 2013

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comments and description will coming soon

day 9: 27.September 2013

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comments and description will coming soon

day 10: 28.September 2013

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comments and description will coming soon

October 2013 – finishing

pict coming soon                
comments and description will coming soon

October 2013 - final situation

pict coming soon                
comments and description will coming soon 

Parallel Academic Activities at EiABC and Bauhaus University

All the design and construction will be done with the involvement of students. Students are taught specific courses related to this project based in Addis Ababa

unit     EiABC Addis Ababa      EiABC Addis Ababa     bauhaus university weimar
Course (2012-13)

Void Addis -Conceptual design

Incremental Buildings – Construction Project

reload addis ababa – urban design course

program 5th semester Architecture 5th semester Architecture 5th semester Architecture
chair / head MA Brook Teklehaimanot MA Asgedom Haile / Chair of Planning Methods
Prof. Dr.Ing. Dirk Donath Prof. Dr.Ing.Dirk Donath
MA Helawi Sewnet Florian Geddert
Martin Biliek
Chair of Design
Prof. Bernd Rudolf
DI Timo Riechert


Parallel courses were also thought in the university of Bauhaus, Weimar with students from the 5th semester - Redesigning  Addis , same topic  VOID Addis has also been introduced to graduating students in the university of Juba, College of Engineering and Architecture.
unit EiABC Addis Ababa bauhaus university weimar bauhaus university weimar
Course (2013) 

Integrated Design Project




generating addis

program 6th semester Architecture 6th semester Architecture 6th semester Architecture
chair / head Chair of Building Construction Chair of Planning Methods

Chair of Planning Methods

MA Asgedom Haile Prof. Dr.Ing. Dirk Donath Prof. Dr.Ing.Dirk Donath
Prof. Dr.Ing. Dirk Donath Jan Ruben Fischer Florian Geddert
DI Timo Riechert Martin Biliek
DI Jakob Mettler
MA Emanuel Longomiya
Chair of Archit. and Design I
MA Brook Teklehaimanot
MA Helawi Sewnet

SICU Workshop March 2013

at EiABC with the academics from the three partner universities

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During their weeklong visit in EiABC, Addis Ababa, participants continued with the workshop by visiting the test site of SICU where by all discussed the current construction methods that are being implemented in the Test Site, what one can learn from it, and what could be better implemented for the real site, for the next time. 
At the real site located in Woreda 04/ Kebele 38 participants visited where the SICU house will be standing, and also who the community is, they briefly discussed with the neighborhood officials and talked on how to go forward.

SICU international team - Participants of the workshop:

Bauhaus University of Weimar (BUW) represented by Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dipl.-Des. Bernd Rudolf (dean of the faculty of Architecture) and Timo Riechert (assistant lecturer), Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC) represented by Melat Assefa (Chair holder- CAD & Geo-Informatics), Brook Teklehaimanot (Chair holder - Architecture & Design I), Professor Dr. Ing. Dirk Donath (Co-Chair holder - Building Construction) and Asgedom Haile (Chair holder - Building Construction) and University of Juba, college of Engineering & Architecture represented by Nada Hammad (Lecturer) and Emmanuel Longomiya (assitant lecturer).

SICU Workshop May 2013

at EiABC with the master students from the bauhaus university weimar – Germany

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Master Students from the BAUHAUS UNIVERSITY WEIMAR traveled to Addis Ababa to analyze the current housing program in Ethiopia. The work is based on the “welcome to africa” project. The participants gathered background information during excursions and interviews. While talking to different stake holders and involved parties the participants obtained an insight view about the current situation and housing backlog. Their visit went along with various lectures by specialists at EiABC. They are going to work on computer supported and generated solutions for housing typologies. The results will be presented on the annual re:load africa workshop in Weimar on July 2013. At this occasion representatives of EiABC will also discuss further shared projects.

welcome to Africa and re:load Africa workshops in July 2013

at the bauhaus university weimar – Germany

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A delegation out of students, academics and administrative staff from the EiABC and South Sudan  came to Weimar for an internal workshop and the international re:load Africa workshop from 5th to 15th of July 2013.

During the student’ workshop about contemporary light frame timber constructions the academics discussed with the partner the next steps for the third phase of the project.  The sessions about “transforming the building and living of our global world” was mainly influenced by the discussion topics of the Ethiopian and south Sudan partners. The excursion end with a visit of the current architectural projects in Berlin.


Launch of the G+1 "SICU-HOUSE in 10 days“ in the Lideta Sub City

pic-2013-09-13-0Three teams from three countries are working together to build a real sized prototype house in 10 days in Addis Ababa. It follows the tradition of experimental research linked with academic education at EiABC.

The “welcome to Africa” project between the EiABC – Bauhaus University and University of South Sudan aims to investigate possibilities and solutions for an alternative urban housing unit designed in conjunction with the construction technology and exchange, local traditions of construction technology, architectural design through technological and process innovations.

The objective is to integrate teaching, practice and research in order to develop a housing prototype that is affordable and fast to construct with an individual, environmental, and context-sensitive architecture. The project is embedded within the changing urban structures and societal impact.

Time: FRI 20/09/2013 - SAT 28/09/2013

Location: LIDETA Sub City, Near the Federal High Court (down from the Abinet square)

Opening: Friday, September 20th, 10:00 AM

Closing Saturday, September 28, 2013, 11:00 AM

Every Day "pass by coffee", 9.30 AM

You are welcome to come around to get a comprehensive insight into an innovative, vibrant architectural intervention.

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SICU building system

SICU design view

SICU Site at Lideta


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Funded by

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Further involved parties

AEE - Afro European Engineers CEO Dawit Kebede logo-aee


Head of Project This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Chair of Building Construction This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Chair of Architecture and Design at EiABC

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