The Royal Netherlands Embassy in Addis Ababa has received the 2007 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Opened to the public in 2005, the diplomatic mission is the work of Dutch architects Dick van Gameren and Bjarne Mastenbroek and Ethiopian architect Rahel Shawl Zelleke. Its simple red-ochre structure is inspired by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela in northern Ethiopia and the roof garden is reminiscent of the landscape of the Netherlands, while it makes use of natural thermal processes for heating, cooling and ventilation, minimising its environmental impact.
The embassy was chosen from over 340 projects presented for the triennial architecture award, which recognizes design that encourages social development, restoration, re-use and environmental responsibility in the Islamic world. Other projects that received a prize this year include Samir Kassir Square in Beirut, Lebanon; the rehabilitation of the city of Shibam, Yemen; Central Market in Koudougou, Burkina Faso; and the University of Technology Petronas, Bandar Seri Iskandar, Malaysia.