Zoma Museum | Architecture



Zoma Museum is a dream come to life for architects, artisits and anyone that loves the relationship Art has with nature. Imagine walking in a space and being hit with both the art in architecture and nature. Inspired by the timeless and structurally sound vernacular architecture of Ethiopia and other parts of the world, Zoma is named after Zoma Shiferraw, a young artist who died of cancer in 1979.

Zoma’s life blood is centered on updating traditional artistic structures and construction methods into the present. It’s a testament that art (in this case architecture) can withstand the test of time if the identity and message of the artist is included in the final product. It aims (and succeeds) in marrying the old with the new. Everything about the museum says this loud and proud.

Zoma Things

The structure feature bridges that are symbols of cooperation and lasting relationships between cultures and different nations. Then there are the gardens that are entirely waste free and feature mini-farms. The farm is also part of a school where kids get basic education with hands-on experience. Students are encouraged to grow vegetables, milking cows, collecting eggs and more. This is to create a wholesome life-skills centered education experience. Zoma Museum includes a gallery, library, children center, edible garden, elementary school, art and vernacular architecture school, amphitheater and a museum shop.

A Multidisciplinary International Effort 

The museum took almost 25 years to complete and was made possible through collaborative efforts of artists, architects, farmers. Ultimately, that’s what the building is about. At least, to the Getz team. A structure that reminds people of the power of collaboration and keeping things you. It’s a haven and a flare signals for everyone interested to witness and experience the power of collaborations.


ZOMA building is a wattle and daub building made with mud and straw. This ancient construction technique is environmentally sound and has a long life. The main building material includes wood and a mixture of sub soil, straw and water. The exterior design was designed and molded by Elias Sime and interior was designed by Meskerem Assegued along with their assistants.

The construction technique for the main building is known as wattle & daub or Cheka Bet, where straw and water are added to red subsoil every three days for three to four weeks until it begins to ferment and smells like vinegar.

Stone is used for the foundation, stem walls, irrigation, walkways, and free-standing and retaining walls. Most of the walls are made without mortar.


Our long term dream for the Zoma building is a four-story cob museum. The design will include large temporary and permanent exhibition galleries, a café, a gift shop, a theatre and offices.

Web www.zomamuseum.org

Email zcac@zcac.net


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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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