Keren Kuenberg Ethiopian buildings in Jerusalem

‘Between Addis Ababa and Jerusalem’


Thesis project, Architecture diploma, Bezalel Academy for arts and design, Jerusalem. Tutors: Prof. Zvi Efrat and architect Natanel Elfassi (2015).

The project offers the design of an Ethiopian culture institute in Zion and deals with the complex, bi-directional relations between Ethiopia and the Land of Israel. The relations between Ethiopia and Israel, which begin with the relations between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, are spread over many areas, including diplomatic, religious, economic and architectural ties. Both peoples hold similar narratives, both of which see themselves as the chosen people, and perceive the Land of Israel and Zion as a mythical and holy space. The project focuses on this extensive relationship in itself, but also uses it as a metaphor for relations between cultures and races, majority and minority, and the use of architectural culture and manipulation of space for the subordination of people and culture. It also undermines the conventional perception of Israeli-African relations by manipulating architecturally, presenting the architectural visibility of cultural subordination to one another and trying to offer a glimpse of the Ethiopian narrative about Israel and offering a different view of Jerusalem.

“The Ethiopian Institute of the Haile Selassie Institute was established by the Ethiopian Government to disseminate Ethiopian culture in Zion, to empower and assimilate the shared values and history of the two countries, to deepen their cooperation in various fields and to strengthen Ethiopia’s presence as the chosen people in the Holy Land. Located close to the Old City and the historic Ethiopian neighborhood, the institute offers a unique view of the entire city and its holy sites, especially the Monastery of Deir el Sultan on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The Institute is the largest and most important network of institutes dedicated to the dissemination of Ethiopian culture and the promotion of the Africanization of Europe and the Middle East. In this framework, the Institute offers a series of Amharic and Tigrinya courses at various levels for the general public. We currently offer a variety of courses tailored to all audiences and levels: private individuals, companies, institutions, etc. In addition, the Institute works to encourage and develop Ethiopian studies in the education system and in the universities of Zion. The Institute offers free access to a large and rich library, which includes the finest literary, musical and cinematic classics of Ethiopia, alongside the most recent titles in these fields. In addition, the Institute has a historical archive open to the general public, which includes a rich collection of documents and archaeological findings relating to the history of Ethiopia and the historical connection between Ethiopia and Zion. The Institute initiates and organizes cultural events and various shows throughout the year that enrich and expose local people to Ethiopian culture, including religious ceremonies at festivals and holidays open to the local public.”

Haaretz (He)

[archive, exhibition, design]