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London Embassy Compound Competition

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Proposal 2010
Lead Designers
Henry N. Cobb Michael W. Bischoff

The proposal is shaped by the belief that the building’s architecture should embody a quiet but confident sense of purpose coupled with openness and generosity of spirit.

This aspiration informed the two key decisions that underlie the design: first, that the embassy should not seek primacy through height in competition with the tall buildings that are likely to spring up nearby; and second, that the embassy precinct should be conceived as an integrated whole. In keeping with these principles, the building is envisioned as a pavilion occupying the center of Embassy Square—an urban space that, following London tradition, includes the entire embassy property together with its surrounding streets.

This project was one of five finalists in a multistage competition sponsored by the Department of State.

Show Facts
Site

Nine Elms Lane, in the Nine Elms redevelopment area on the south bank of the Thames River

Client

U.S. Department of State

Landscape plan

Ground floor plan

Principles of sustainable design are a guiding factor in the programmatic, spatial, and technological features of the proposal. The building’s form, orientation, and external shading devices reduce solar gain in summer and glare year-round, reducing the consumption of energy required for lighting within the building envelope.
The double-skin building envelope, in conjunction with a narrow office footprint wrapping a skylit internal atrium, optimizes the transparency of the facade while bringing a maximum amount of controlled natural light into the workspace.
Other features include a green roof at the third floor terrace, reducing rainwater runoff, and photovoltaic panels on the primary roof, decreasing the building’s marketplace energy consumption by more than 20 percent.
Project Credits

Structural: Leslie E. Roberston Associates, New York; Landscape: Ken Smith Landscape Architect, New York; Mechanical / Electrical / Plumbing: Jaros Baum & Bolles, New York, NY; FP/IT/Environmental Security: Jaros Baum & Bolles, New York, NY; Images: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners