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American Embassy design by Richard Meier & Partners

The architects of the shortlisted scheme for the new American Embassy in London explain their design

This design for the embassy has a clear organisation based on security considerations and building functions that are reinforced by primary and secondary circulation systems.

The architectural massing is layered from east to west, with public areas on the east, office areas in the middle and additional office areas to the west. The layering of the architecture is an expression of the programme parts, drawn together in a composition that projects an image of strength and clarity of purpose. The massing concept of slender volumes and narrow floorplates separated by daylit zones and an atrium supports the goal for the entire embassy to be daylit.

We selected a limited palette of materials including concrete, translucent glass and Portland stone, all of which are familiar in London’s urban fabric. The main entrance is approached through a landscaped courtyard, which is paved for vehicle drop-off, outdoor receptions and ceremonies.

The four-storey architectural backdrop is scaled to create a welcoming outdoor room and an approachable facade of glass framed by Portland stone. A glass thermal wall is animated by sail-shaped shades that deploy throughout the day in a myriad of patterns that respond to the sun’s position.
Richard Meier & Partners’ accolades include 29 National Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the 2008 AIA 25 Year Award

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