2013 - 2014 | MACU

MACU is the third experimental, technology oriented building prototype which integrates digital planning and manufacturing techniques as a part of strategy for solving enormous housing backlog of Addis Ababa-Ethiopia and Juba-South Sudan. The aim was to develop such a small scale parameterized modular housing prototype which is flexible enough to suits the local needs both - Ethiopian and South Sudanese project partners. It is a show case where the team of students with their tutors will research and explore possibilities digital manufacturing resulting in desig and realization of an 1:1 housing unit.



MACU is part of the welcome to africa project 2012- 2015 at DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) which is an international academic research project between the Ethiopian, South Sudanese and German universities. This research program's aim is to strengthen the collaboration in research and practical experiences and competency to bring together contemporary building technology with real circumstances.


MACU IN PICTURES | Planning and Construction Process



MACU by InfAR on Sketchfab


Official opening - December 2014

Phase 01 (December 2013, January 2014) - References, Design concept, Tests  

Phase 02 (February 2014) - 1:1 test and impovements

Phase 03.01 (March - May 2014) - upgrading, detailing & optimization, developement of parametric model  

Waffle Slab

Detail Staircase

Model Facade

Merged Student Work
Phase 03.02 (May 2014) - Workshop at EiABC with BUW students, upgrading, detailing & optimization  

Consulting of
Ethiopian & German Students

Model Collection
Weimar & Addis

Detailing & Optimizing
of Team Proposals

Presentation & Discussion
of Proposals for MACU
03.03 (July 2014) - Closing Semester Workshop at BUW with EiABC students In Weimar & Presentation of Results at the Summary Exhibition at the Bauhaus Universität Weimar  

Final Semester Presentation

CNC Workshop at BUW

Opening InfAR Bar Summary

Symposium Integrated Infrastructure

Phase 05 (Sep. - Nov. 2014) - CNC Production EiABC, pre-assembly,  Exhibition models finishing


slab to floor assembly

floor assembly

Wall from Outside


Phase 06 (December 2014)  - Site assembly EiABC


staircase assembly

floorslab assembly

finished floor slab

Time lapse - MACU Assembling




MACU | Project Objectives & Targets

• to promote new computational planning and manufacturing techniques as a part of higher education
• to appropriate and explore the potential of digital production with regards to local material resources and local mode of living in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia and Juba - South Sudan
• to combine theoretical knowledge with practical training for higher education at EiABC (training students with realistic parameters of a site and building construction system)
• to create a link of trust between the involved students, researchers
• to contribute on a fair and alive society, where everyone has the opportunity needed to develop their capacities and fully exercise their 
own housing thoughts.
• to promote critical reflection for further implementations
• to serve the purpose of the government whilst realizing the design

potentials of the students, researchers, offering parallel strategies to the existing governmental housing project in the city Based on these objectives MACU test house will be implemented as showcase pavilion hosting exhibition which should illustrate potential and further option of such a approach for different scale, time and function scenarios. The project will be assembled at the EiABC Campus and reassembled at the University of Juba afterwards. Students are carrying out construction tasks to learn from the construction techniques they have designed, while they are implementing them on this construction site.


MACU | Benefits of the show case temporary structure

The prototype MACU won’t be an alternative for the existing integrated housing developing program, neither to replace nor questioned it. It can be an additional element for fast and accurate done extensions, individual functioning units and urban space additional like information centres, bus stops, office units, guard and security units, public and recreation centres for shaded activities. It is a showcase of technology exchange and capacity building by demonstration the potential of modern planning methods, pre-processed materials out of local resources (plywood) and up to date machinery.


The initial approach of the project is to introduce a building construction technology which is available but not yet introduced in the building construction industry. It is a technical alternative and future directed provocation to existing know-how.

Basic concept of the MACU prototype

The design is based on a parametrized computer model controlling a computer which controls a milling machine for producing the individual building parts. This means a total flexible and individual design result which can be achieved by changing the parameters of the individual building parts. The result is a fully described building system which can be provided in various design layouts.

This way of doing could provide:
• A maximum range of flexibility of the final product process,
• Speed up the construction time on site,
• Guarantee a high accuracy,
• Reduce implementation failures to almost zero,
• Minimize disturbing circumstances,
• Guarantee the final price and construction time

Digital Model

The digital model contains all necessary information about the production by the CNC machinery itself, the needed material, the labs for the identification of the individual building parts, the way of assembling and the costs about the whole process.


The prototype is produced on a CNC milling machinery. The working table is 1.3 x 2.8 m wide. The used drill has a diameter of 10 mm and cuts 3m per minute. Every milled part will be automated numbered


The complete prototype is made out of plywood. It is 18 mm thick and produced out of eucalyptus wood by the company Heng Sen Lumber Manufacture PLC located in Addis Ababa. Instead of plywood, other CNC processable
material can be used

About the used Material Eucalyptus

The Eucalyptus which is the name of a locally available tree, which is used primarily as a scaffolding for building constructions and as well as a building material for tin housings that are built all over Addis Ababa. It has a very
high compressive strength as it has many fibres. It is also partially resistant to water.


The assembling of the individual parts is working like a puzzle; they are placed to each other and fixed with connections (like wedges, clamps, brackets – also cut out of CNC processed material) Flexible / Reversible concept It is a temporary building structure and can be very easy assembled as well as disassembled. All connections are placed to each other by fixing the wellknown old tradition principles extender wedges.
It can be easily relocated. The foundation are light, transportable and fit to most of the ground situations without extra preparation. It whole building structure can be easily changed, extended and reused.

Structural Concept

Pad footing are prefabricated in which columns are insert to a ridge grid-waffle slab system.


Due to the flexibility various functions for users are provided. The free space between column-grid ranges from 1.2 m to 3.8 m. This means a maximum usable space of 3.8 x 3.8 m = 14.5 m². The column grid can be extended in both directions. Possible and well suited purposes and function could be for this type of building
are: Schools, Kinder gardens, Offices, emerging houses, remote shelters


The enclosure as well as the partition walls are non-load bearing and can be placed in the grid of the slab (800x800mm). Various types of façades are developed. There are solid walls (single or double sheets) or pattern walls with openings for the ventilation /window /door combined or individual.


A membrane sheet functions as a rain cover on the roof. It is made out of PE
and 0.5 mm thick. On the cantilevered flat roof slab it will be fixed underneath

MACU | Technical report

CNC Parameter
CNC Milling Machine
Speed of Drill
7000 U/min
2 Blades
4000 U/min
3 Blades
Diameter of Drill
10 mm
Meters per Minute
3 m/min
Cutting Length (Total)
3.104,7 m
Cutting Time (Total)
28,0 h
Total Costs (1000 Birr/h)
22.400 Birr
Amount of Plywood sheets
159 pieces
Amount of individual parts
834 parts
without wedges & connectors
Prototype Parameter
Plywood 18 mm
1,20 x 2,40 m
Floor Dimensions
5,40 x 5,40 m
3,60 m
1 1/2
Software Modelling
Rhino, Grasshopper,
own developed C#.net Add-on
Size of File
118 MB
Zip 14 MB
Export per Plywood Sheet
14 - 100 KB
Software for CNC Control

MACU | Project Team

is an international team with delegates from all the three partners

Project Head                        

Prof. Dr. Ing. Dirk Donath
chair of Building Construction at AAU - EiABC
chair InfAR at bauhaus university weimar, ifex

Prof. Dipl.Ing. Dipl.Des. Bernd Rudolf
chair design at bauhaus university weimar, ifex

Deputy Project Head MA Asgedom Haile
at AAU - EiABC
Parametric design DI Mischa Proll
chair of InfAR at bauhaus university
Structural Design & Calculation

Peter Dissel

DI Carsten Stammeier

Project architect

DI Florian Geddert
chair of InfAR at bauhaus university

MA Brook Teklehaimanot
chair of Architecture and Design I at AAU - EiABC

Construction Manager DI Jakob Mettler

Finance and Procurement

DI Nicole Baron
chair of InfAR at bauhaus university

Student assistants

Aknaw Yohannes / Dagmawi Tilahun / Seyume Weldeyesus / Olaf Kammler at AAU EiABC

 MACU | Partners

Bauhaus University Weimar

ifex - institute of experimental architecture
at bauhaus

Prof. Bernd Rudolf - Project Head
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Ruth
- Structural design consultant

University of Juba Buni Khamis Mis - Head dep. Architecture
Emmanuel Sadaraka - Project Assistant
Nada Hammad - Project coordinator Juba
icebauhaus weimar

DP Joern Schultz

Parallel Academic Activities at EiABC and Bauhaus University

All the design and construction will be done with the involvement of students. Students are taught specific courses related to this project based in Addis Ababa, Juba


Parallel courses will be thought in the Bauhaus University Weimar and AAU - EiABC and will be introduced to graduating students in the university of Juba, College of Engineering and Architecture too.


Addis Ababa


bauhaus university weimar

bauhaus_ university

(summer 2014)               

Design Project


WOOD - Algorithmic architecture

Build at the Horn of Africa


6th semester Bachelor Architecture


1-3th semester Master Architecture

2th semester Master Architecture

chair / head

Chair Building Construction


Chair of Planning Methods (InfAR)

Chair of Planning Methods (InfAR)


Asgedom Haile


Prof. Dr.Ing.
Dirk Donath

Prof. Dr.Ing.
Dirk Donath



DI Florian Geddert

DI Florian Geddert

      DI Mischa Proll DI Mischa Proll


"Informal Architecture" Exhibition and Conference, Goethe Institut Addis Ababa

Exhibition Opening: 18.02.2014 at 6:30pm (Goethe-Institut Addis Ababa)

In cooperation with Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and the EiABC the Goethe-Institut shows an exhibition about informal architecture in Addis Ababa.

Accompanying the exhibition "Informal Architecture" the Goethe-Institut is hosting the conference “Informal Addis”.The conference will present lectures and open discussions by international and local professionals with a focus on the changing DNA of Addis Ababa.


Funded by:

Heng Sen lumber manufacturer PLC




Chair Planning Methods
Bauhaus Universität Weimar,
Chair Building Construction
Addis Ababa University - EiABC


Addis Ababa University - EiABC