Mr. DW spends too much time in homogenized and characterless conference centres. This time, the conference was held in a monumental surprise of a building. The conference building is almost organic with an inner heart and soaring ribs supporting the roof and enabling vast open spaces. The central conference room is shaped like an enormous flying saucer and is encircled by smaller rooms on three levels. The afternoon sun slanting through the exterior windows helps to the emphasize the architectural details and the sheer size of the building. If you don’t know where this is, the answer may surprise you.
This is the headquarters of the African Union in Ethiopia and the tallest building in Addis Ababa. Even more surprising? The headquarters, comprising a 100m tall tower and a conference centre, was funded and constructed by the Chinese government using mostly imported Chinese materials and 1,200 Chinese and Ethiopian workers.