This new embassy was the winning entry in a national design competition. Construction documents were completed in collaboration with Kunwon Architects, Planners & Engineers in Seoul and Beijing Capital Engineering in Beijing. The site is located across from the U.S. Embassy in a new embassy district of Beijing. The complex includes government offices, Ambassador’s residence and housing for diplomatic staff.
In order to accommodate official and domestic functions simultaneously, the site is divided into two courtyards. The large paved reception court is used for formal entry of state officials and their motorcades. Enclosure of the court is completed by a wall of housing on the south side, separated by water and a terraced garden area. In contrast to the paved entry court, the smaller domestic courtyard is planted with trees and aromatic greenery. This space is punctuated by the Ambassador’s residence with private outdoor reception areas. The office building is organized around a multi-story atrium with linear balconies overlooking the public street.
Security: The compound has concentric layers of security, each with increasingly more resistive construction and details. A tall wall surrounds the site, and access is limited to heavily guarded control points both for pedestrians and vehicles. Cars are subject to search, and access is limited by physical control systems.
Traffic Design: Located on an urban site, there are multiple controlled points of entry from the surrounding streets, each with specific requirements. The main courtyard is designed to accommodate the turning radius of a visiting head-of-state’s limousine, and an underground parking garage has multiple access points from within the site.
Remote: The building is designed using simple systems and hardware, for though it is within a major city, it is remote from its home country.
Harsh Climate: The building’s skin is designed to be as smooth as possible in response to the regular “yellow winds” that carry sands from the desert and blanket the city, already one of the most polluted in the world.