A New Urban Destination in the Center of Ethiopia’s Capital City
La Gare Addis Ababa
Centered around the historic train station, La Gare is a vibrant new urban district in the heart of Addis Ababa. The district connects the rich traditions of Ethiopia with contemporary African design in a thriving, sustainable, and cosmopolitan neighborhood. The adaptively reused La Gare Station is a central feature of the plan, celebrating the city’s past and creating a historic backdrop for contemporary civic life. The surrounding development builds on the cultural, spatial, and historic context of Addis Ababa to create a new center of gravity for the city.
The development concept is structured around three core components. First, a vibrant commercial heart combines small-scale retail with larger entertainment attractions that serve as anchors to the development. Covered and arcaded pedestrian streets protect visitors and residents from the city’s monsoonal rains and channel the energy of a marketplace into the public realm. The architectural styles, street grid, and integrated residential living combine to infuse the urban district with vibrance.
Second, the central avenue creates a distinction between the lively retail heart and two self-contained residential areas, each anchored by a neighborhood park. Finally, a network of pocket parks, plazas, and pedestrian lanes stitch together these diverse character areas into a cohesive public realm. From the grand lawn at La Gare Station to the dynamic Media Plaza to quiet neighborhood parks, these public spaces provide a variety of amenities for community gathering and daily life.
Creating Character from Context
A fixture in the city for over a century, La Gare Station is a historic anchor to Addis Ababa’s rich past and a driver of the city’s vibrant future. The development builds on the cultural, spatial, and historic context to create a new heart for the city. The historic landmark’s location along Addis Ababa’s central axis positions the La Gare district as a recognizable public destination. Welcoming public spaces and active streetscapes reinforce the importance of this district and create civic spaces for the city. The La Gare district’s materials, plantings, and opportunities for public art all intentionally reflect Ethiopia’s distinct culture.
A Vibrant Mixed-Use District
From international hotels to Ethiopian coffee shops, the intentional development program and pedestrian-centric urban design creates an integrated neighborhood where retail, residential, hospitality, and entertainment activate the public realm and provide energy at all hours of the day.
Fostering Contemporary Culture & Lifestyle
A covered pedestrian retail zone at the center of the district connects public spaces and creates a focal point for eating, shopping, and socializing. Providing shelter from heavy seasonal rainfall, the covered retail street transitions to arcades along the facades of the buildings along neighborhood streets. Along these edges, smaller scale retail venues foster entrepreneurial diversity and contribute to a unique sense of place supported by local crafts, cuisine, and international brands.This integrated and varied network of public open space celebrates community programming, creates opportunities to showcase artists, and honors the historic character of the district.
Sustainable and Pedestrian-Centric Neighborhoods
La Gare Station, the Custom House Plaza, the Media Plaza, and the neighborhood parks are knit together through lushly planted streets that prioritize bicyclists and pedestrians. A comprehensive stormwater management strategy is embedded in the street network and public open spaces that infiltrates, filters, and stores stormwater for irrigation. Robust streetscape plantings and stormwater infrastructure serve critical roles during the rainy season by managing runoff and improving local water quality.
For more information contact Michael Grove.