VILALTA completes mall in ethiopia with perforated envelope VILALTA completes mall in ethiopia with perforated envelope
dec 26, 2016

VILALTA completes mall in ethiopia with perforated envelope


located in addis ababa, ethiopia, the ‘lideta mercato’ brings a contemporary expression to the rapidly growing city. the vast carved volume connects two parallel streets that create the boundary of the plot. this diagonal connection creates a shortcut for pedestrians and places focus on the entrances of the building.

VILALTA shopping mall mercato designboom
all images © gonzalo guajardo



the six-year project by VILALTA arquitectura will be used as a commercial complex. after analyzing the typical blueprint of malls in addis ababa, a recurrent design factor of these buildings is their entirely glazed façade. combined with the hot climate, this leads to poor thermal conditions and overheating of the interior spaces. for this project, the architects adopted the approach seen in traditional open-air markets in africa, leading to the lideta mercato to be conceived as a multi-leveled contemporary market place.

VILALTA shopping mall mercato designboom



the striking envelope of the building takes into consideration of the local climate conditions and place. the façade acts as a protection from the harsh sun, controlling the natural light and ventilation into the internal spaces. using a lightweight concrete prefab system, the perforated skin references a traditional ethiopian fractal pattern commonly found in local fabrics. the passive ventilation system and controlled natural lightening created between the building’s layers and the interior atrium enables the interior space to be airy with a balanced illumination.

floors are arranged around a void

after analyzing observation of the old mercato (the largest open air market in africa) this influenced the program

the floors overlap to allow for equal distribution of light

the square openings create a play of light internally

the façade pattern was taken from local ethiopian fabrics

in the end, the mall will be a contemporary market place

the main stairwell

the skin of the building was designed considering the local climate conditions

the carved volume connects two parallel streets that define the plot of the project.






project info:



location: addis ababa, ethiopia  
client: flintstone engineering  
surface area: 14,200  sqm
time: 2010 -2016
restricted competition: 1st  prize  
architects: vilalta arquitectura  
director: xavier vilalta
project leader: maria rosaria favoino
project team: joao medeiros, miguel sánchez enkerlin, reema  al -ajlan, daniel vaczi
structural: k2n
engineering mechanical & sanitary: abiy aberra







  • A+++ simple, elegant and functional can’t wait to see it. I hope you get to do this again and again and get greener figuratively and literally put that gray water to good use cleaning & oxygenating air via vegetation etc.. You have set the bar high in a sea of glass clading for all to see, why stop there solar hot water and waterfall with fishpond for air-conditioning. The best part is this can be don to new or current Buldings to improve there green footprint

    M Asnake says:

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