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Eric Parry to design UK ambassador’s residence in Beijing

Eric parry preferred 2010
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Eric Parry Architects has defeated a star shortlist in the contest to design a new Ambassador’s Residence at the British Embassy in Beijing

The London and Singapore-based practice was chosen ahead of bids by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Carmody Groarke, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and The Manser Practice, which has previously completed diplomatic buildings in Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

The contest, run by the RIBA on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office attracted 39 entries.

The brief called for a design team ‘of the highest calibre’ to create a new home for the ambassador on the site of the existing 1959 embassy, located within the Chinese capital’s diplomatic district.

The project will deliver a ‘modern, seismically resilient’ home for the UK’s foremost diplomatic representative in China – currently Barbara Woodward – and ‘provide a platform for the ambassador to project Britain’s global influence’. The building, planned to complete in 2024 will occupy a 7,980m² plot within the walled embassy complex.

Shortlist

  • Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
  • Carmody Groarke
  • Eric Parry Architects
  • Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
  • The Manser Practice

Foreign and Commonwealth Office director of estates Tony Whitehead said:  ‘We are delighted to announce Eric Parry as our lead architect on the proposed new residence in Beijing.

‘To reflect the scale of our ambition in China, we are looking to provide a state-of-the-art building that will better reflect the image that Britain wants to project and help facilitate our presence in China for many years. We believe Eric and his team have the expertise and experience to help us fulfil that vision’.

British Embassy in Beijing

British Embassy in Beijing

Source: Image by Krokodyl

British Embassy in Beijing

RIBA architect adviser on the competition David Morley commented: ‘This promises to be a significant work of architecture, marrying east with west and expressing the essence of Britishness in a progressive way.

‘Happily the competition attracted some very talented architects and it will be wonderful to see Eric Parry’s winning ideas brought to fruition.’

The British Embassy in Beijing occupies a two-story villa (pictured) within the city’s diplomatic quarter. It was constructed by the Chinese government in 1959 to replace an earlier 19th-century embassy, which was demolished to make way for Beijing’s Supreme People’s Court.

The current building at 11 Guang Hua Lu is no longer large enough to host the embassy’s consulate services, which are now based inside the high-rise Kerry Centre nearby. 

Proposals for its replacement were required to feature a ground-floor entertainment space with formal dining area and a caterer’s kitchen. The first floor will, meanwhile, include guests rooms for visiting ministers and a private apartment for the ambassador and their family.

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