Some of the leading lights of British architecture have been shortlisted in the contest to design a new Ambassador’s Residence at the British Embassy in Beijing
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Carmody Groarke, Eric Parry Architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and The Manser Practice make up the five finalists in the RIBA-backed competition, run on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The contest 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.
Planned to complete in 2024, 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 will occupy a 7,980m² plot within the walled embassy complex.
- Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
- Carmody Groarke
- Eric Parry Architects
- Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
- The Manser Practice
Edward Hobart, director of estates and security directorate at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said: ‘This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to design the showcase for the UK in one of the world’s most important capitals.
’We are looking for a proposal that represents the UK’s leading role in architecture, and which can be considered as an impressive and significant building for decades to come, standing alongside the great British ambassadorial residences, such as those in Paris and Washington.’
British Embassy in Beijing
Source: Image by Krokodyl
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 larger enough to host the embassy’s consulate services, which are now based inside the high-rise Kerry Centre nearby. The latest project aims to create a prestigious new base where the UK ambassador can ‘project Britain’s global influence’.
Proposals must 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.
The five shortlisted teams will each receive £2,000 to outline their design approach.
The bids will be evaluated 75 per cent on quality and 25 per cent on price.
The finalists will be interviewed next month.