US Embassy London
London, United Kingdom
Program: Embassy Tower, Consular Section, Secure Data Storage, Gastronomy and Recreational Facilities
Project in collaboration with Brittany Williams
Further developing and reforming a preliminary design by Morphosis Architects, a green roof terrain around the perimeter allows for fortification without creating a sense of alienation and distancing from the neighborhood like a typical embassy that is hidden behind a wall. The main embassy is divided into three office towers that are connected by sky bridges, sections of the building spanning over the environment, and a central atrium. The green roof typography runs underneath and merges into the main office towers.
A unique column grid system was designed in collaboration with engineers in order to facilitate the buildings’ multitude of smaller atrium openings. Such openings create connections between the levels and eliminate the sense of working on an isolated floor.
Conference rooms, break rooms, pantries, copy rooms and are strategically located in the main atrium in order to provoke more movement throughout the building. The atrium openings offer areas where employees can take lunch or enjoy a coffee while conversing with a co-worker. Bamboo grows in these areas to create a connection with nature, and a harmonious relationship between the modern high tech and organic.
To facilitate a sense of accessibility, three cladding types are employed across the exterior of the building according to the program found within. The first is a curtain wall system, emblematic of an office tower.
Matched with predominately circulatory and common spaces, it allows views of surrounding London while revealing traces of the activity within.
The majority of the workspace, however, is shielded from outside view by aluminum panels. Set with narrow, angled strips of glass to allow for passage of light and air; a visual armor. A third degree of visual thickness is achieved through the aluminum screen which protects the most sensitive areas from external view, while maintaining pleasant levels of natural ambient light.
With the gradation of openness through facade, the exterior and the inner workings of the embassy have a relationship, favoring transparency and visual linkage to express a connection with the host country.