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Ethiopian Airlines Headquarters competition hit by controversy over links between architect and jury

A collaboration between BET Architects Plc and Soehene Partners Architects has been awarded first place in a competition to design the new headquarters for Ethiopian Airlines at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. The competition has had a turbulent journey, the first stage producing ‘dissatisfying’ results with no clear winner and reports claiming that BET Architects Plc were selected for the project through close ties between the architects and the jury members.

Members of the jury and architects on the winning project currently lecture at the same institution however Biruk Teffera, architect and secretary of the Association of Ethiopian Architects (who took part in the jury session), confirmed: “The selection was made based on the terms of reference and based on international architectural standards which were objective and transparent.

“The designs were submitted under codes and ET gave them new codes before the proposals reached the jury, making participants anonymous. The names of the participants were only known to a separate team at the airline. The airline was specific in its demands about the organisation structure, flexibility of use and expansion, as well as forward looking plans. BET Architects Plc happened to fulfil all these requirements.”

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