Melaku Center / xvstudio

09Our friend Xavier Vilalta from Barcelona-based xvstudio sent us his new project: the Melaku Center. The Melaku Center will be new center of learning, working and projection for the inhabitants of Mek’ele, capital of the Tigray, a region of the north of .

The Melaku Center will be a reference model of sustainable development in Africa, from the design of the buildings to the program itself. The whole project will be a ecosystem of knowlegde, development and natural resources.

A common parameter in the traditional African architecture is the use of the fractal scale: small parts of the structure tend to be similar to the bigger ones, for example, the circular villages are made of circular houses. More description and images after the break.

The project master-plan geometry is based in a fractal hexagonal grid that holds the different sizes of classrooms and services. The classes are organized in small groups of three or four pieces that have the shape of a flower. Understanding the climate and the vernacular architecture of Ethiopia, the exterior spaces become the corridors of the school.

All the learning spaces have natural ventilation from both sides and the porch to access them holds the solar panels that will provide the school of electricity.

The landscape of the center will integrate local species and the students of the center will be the researchers and gardeners for the intermediate spaces.

All the buildings of the project hold a photovoltaic panel network that will provide the center of electricity. Some of the energy produced will be send to the city.

All the water from rain will be collected in natural collectors and this will be used for drainaged of the gardening and for services.

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "Melaku Center / xvstudio" 02 Oct 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <>
  • sebastijan

    the sustainability efforts are good, but the problem with this design is that it was only designed in plan and results in really boring, bleak relationships. i know this probably has no budget and needs to be easily built and that super-contemporary architectural stylings are probably not appropriate, but i feel that there could have definitely been more interesting relationships between buildings and the site/landscape… and the buildings themselves could be more engaging and inviting… this is a school, not a compound.

  • INawe

    I agree. I think a look at the scale of each building would have helped as well. This project has no life to it.

  • Balkan

    it looks very grafhical, not architectural, no ambiental values, not much good ….

  • 89

    This looks like a concentration camp that was hit by and earthquake and then a tornado

  • mago

    i think it looks great, good planning, nice interior spaces and good cultural interpretation. i see there are budget constraints like in any educational project but the complexity of the composition from the fractals makes it very interesting

  • oscar falcón lara

    Oh great. It’s a fantastic conceptual approach to the final design, and although the site is spread out into separate functional cores, I believe it will serve its purpose masterfully, life will come when this building is in use.

  • ING

    The NGO of this project