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US Embassy is Grade II listed

Architecture minister Margaret Hodge has approved the Grade II listing of the Eero Saarinen-designed US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London.

The building, which is the only one by Saarinen in the UK – and only one of three outside the US – will host the embassy until it moves to Battersea in 2016.

Earlier this year Chelsfield, led by Sir Stuart Lipton and Elliott Bernerd, won a contest to develop the site.

In its report to the government, English Heritage recommended the building be listed at Grade II, stating: ‘Special architectural interest for the strongly articulated design and dynamic facades, well-detailed stonework and consistency of detail.

‘Of particular note is the innovative application of the exposed concrete diagrid – an intelligent combination of structural expression and decorative motifs which provides cohesion to the whole and which illustrates Saarinen’s principles of marrying form to structure, interior to exterior – and his close involvement in detail and execution.’

But it declared that the internal interest ‘is largely confined to the ground-floor public spaces’, meaning any future development could substantially change its interior.

The site was also given credit for its historical interest, being Britain’s first modern embassy.

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