Architecture students at the University of Liberia (UL) have been led on a guided tour of the German Embassy near Monrovia and shared thoughts with H.E. Amb. Dr. Jakob Haselhuber on options for rehabilitation or reconstruction of structures within the Embassy compound in Congo Town.
Led on the trip by Professor George William Rofi Intsiful, Interim Chair, Department of Architecture, University of Liberia, the students and other members of the UL team were guided on the tour by German Embassy staff and Facility Manager Mr. David Weisel and Liberian staff Andrew David on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
The essence of the trip was to give Architecture students the opportunity to view the Embassy’s fence on the beach side that was recently broken by erosion, the Ambassador’s old residence and other structures inside the compound and to get their perspectives on the best options for rebuilding a new wall, renovating or reconstructing structures where necessary, among others.
The Ambassador’s old residence was vacated in the 90s during Liberia’s civil crisis. It was later used as UN Peacekeepers’ barracks, but it remains vacant after their withdrawal from Liberia.
Regarding the broken wall on the beach side, the Embassy has temporarily built a zinc fence while awaiting the actual construction of a new fence.
Prior to meeting Amb. Dr. Haselhuber, they also viewed a swamp partly barricaded by a low wire fence inside the Embassy compound which has served as a natural habitat for some animals for decades.
During the meeting with Amb. Dr. Haselhuber, there were suggestions by students for the Embassy to consider a coastal defense project to help push back the sea. Some students recommended the construction of a double wall to prevent erosion from hitting the main fence; using bigger rocks along the shore to reduce the strength of the wave; and planting of coconut trees, among others.
As for the Ambassador’s old residence, some students said they saw it as a good building, but it just needed some renovation work to be done as well as landscaping outside the residence to make it accessible to people.
Regarding the swamp inside the Embassy, it was suggested to create a walkway and make it like a mini – zoo in order for visitors to be able to see the animals. But other students suggested that the Embassy contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the preservation of the animals at a national park and transform the swamp land into a facility for outdoor sports.
Welcoming the students, Amb. Haselhuber said he was happy that he and the students, along with their professor, had met to view options on what to do with depreciating assets in the compound. He commended the very constructive proposals of the students, some of which he shared.
He encouraged the students to put in all their enthusiasm into the profession that they have chosen at the University of Liberia, noting that when they complete their studies and have their diplomas, they will find themselves at a different level.
Talking about the Embassy near Monrovia, the new German Ambassador explained that it is one of the biggest compounds the Federal Republic of Germany has abroad and it is leased for 99 years, starting from 1954.
Professor George William Rofi Intsiful, Interim Chair, Department of Architecture, University of Liberia, expressed sincere regards to Dr. Haselhuber for the invitation and lauded the interaction between his students and the Ambassador.