The new library, designed by Professor Fasil Giorghis will feature a grand entrance with planted walkways and seating plazas, designed by Andrew Tadross.
Just a short walk away from the Church of St. Mary of Zion and the ancient stelae, an impressive new edifice is being constructed in the historical city of Axum. This project is called the Axumite Heritage Foundation Library and Cultural Center and is being developed through the Axumite Heritage Foundation and the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECCD).
The modern, well-equipped library was designed by the Chair of Conservation of Urban and Architectural Heritage of EiABC, Professor Fasil Giorghis. Construction has been completed in 2017, and a grand opening event is planned for 2018. The library will feature a Great Reading Room, a children’s library, auditorium, classrooms, computer stations, and meeting spaces. The entire project is planned to be fully accessible for people with disabilities and programmed with modern library management practices. The building makes use of natural light, rustic stone material, and modern fixtures. The site also includes spaces for local artisans (weavers, potters, artists, etc) to produce and sell their work.
EiABC lecturer Andrew Tadross was recruited to provide the landscape design, which includes extensive stone walkways and outdoor plazas, lighting, seating areas, hundreds of trees and shrubs. An emphasis has been placed on using native plants, and trying to preserve the historic character of Axum while making the site an green oasis in the city.
Recent EiABC graduate Kokeb Dimtsekal has also contributed much needed help in laying out the landscape, creating 3D models, and designing an outdoor café and reading space.
Besides the new library, the site is also home to the former Governor’s Palace – a historical building that was used also as a prison during the Italian occupation. This building has served as the ‘old library’, but will be renovated and converted into a heritage museum in the future. This project will be another source of pride of the people of Axum and contribute to the city’s growing influence as a tourism destination.