Embassy design requirements

Aytan Akhundova26 April 20213995 views6 min. read
Embassy design requirements

Have you ever thought about embassy design? Let’s be honest when you think about the memorable embassy architecture building is not your first thought.

Well, we shall break this stereotypical thinking together and review the best embassy buildings and their design.

Before we pass to architecture and aesthetics, we should remember that embassy is a diplomatic building that represents safety more than beauty.

According to U.S. Committee, there are several main design criteria that a modern embassy building should implement.

- Embassy buildings must adapt to the wealth and diversity of the climatic and geographical environments in which such buildings will be situated. Each embassy building's design challenges are unique and formidable: an embassy is a building whose design must respect its context, wherever and whatever it may be, and yet it must also, in the best possible sense, represent the country's character and strengths

american embassy

- Besides, embassy buildings must meet many complexes, technically demanding functional specifications, to which several must now be added to improve protection. The Committee acknowledged early in its deliberations that there could be no standard or uniform collection of responses to the various variables and specifications in architectural and engineering design

- The design specifications, parameters and standards imposed by the State Department should be formulated and assessed in terms of the required performance characteristics and not in terms of defined, static, structured, generic design solutions

- Site preparation and design; ideal functional configurations and communities that should serve as the basis for the design of future buildings

- The properties that structural, enveloped fenestration systems should require; and the properties and characteristics that building service and control systems should require

- Site assessment and selection for future buildings


- The overall approach to the future design, construction and management of best embassy buildings should be governed by an ongoing process of safety impact analysis. Therefore, the factors specific to each specific setting and task are clearly defined, and the basis for the design is therefore decided.

While this Committee has considered only safety-related influences and variables, it is clear that other factors must also be considered and should be used to assess the facility's final design in accordance with security considerations.

Embassy buildings are the actual incarnations of nations overseas. Embassies can at their best, set the stage for building bridges between nations, while they can aggravate difficult ties at their worst.

Embassy architecture is used to make bold political claims about international affairs as a strong instrument.

Now let's move on to the beautiful section!

U.S. Embassy, London

us embassy

In mid-January 2018, a new U.S. Embassy building was opened in London, representing a transparent crystal cube mounted on a monumental colonnade. According to architects Stephan Kieren and James Timberlake, who designed the building, this form symbolises the basic ideals of American society: transparency, openness and equality. Despite this design concept, the project was sharply criticized by U.S. President Donald Trump, who called a construction worth over $1 billion a "bad deal".

The extremely effective facade, composed of laminated glass and an outer shell made of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, is one of the project's most impressive features (ETFE). The transparent film is extended so that sun glare is reduced when flooding the interior with natural light. In doing so, due to the time of day and temperature, the form of the facade varies.

As with its other works, Kieran Timberlake has paid great attention to sustainable design: solar panels are placed on the roof of the building and cleaned rainwater runoff is used in the water supply system.

There are three pillars and three exits on the lower floors of the building. The main entrance is for employees and official visitors, the consular entrance is for requests for passports and visas, and the embassy staff and delivery service.

Winding lanes inside the building form spirals. Each of the 12 floors has an inner garden, each inspired by a different American landscape: from the deserts of Canyonlands National Park to lush rainforests.

The embassy includes public spaces, work areas, ceremonial and symbolic rooms and canteens. The flexible working spaces are designed to be adapted to suit the needs of embassy staff. And they are located around the perimeter of the building, as this is where the best natural lighting is available.

The Barack Obama administration already approved the project, but current U.S. President Donald Trump has sharply criticized the embassy's construction due to the huge costs. He even cancelled his visit to London, refusing to attend the embassy opening ceremony.

Brazil Embassy, Moscow

brazilian embassy

The Embassy of Brazil is located in the Mansion of A.V. Lopatina. The two-storey Mansion with a third attic floor was built in 1875 to a design by the architect A.S. Kaminsky. The façade of the building is made of bricks from the factory of A. Gusarev and coloured tiles from the workshop of S.I. Maslennikov. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the house was rented out, and in 1925 it was converted into a hostel for the Bolshevik Veterans Society. It was only in 1963 that the building was handed over to the Embassy of Brazil.

France Embassy, Haiti

france embassy

The new French Embassy of the Republic of Haiti consists of a single circular structure in a wide park. The entire project creates an elegant campus, both a representation for the French Republic and a venue for everyday work. Inspired by the tropical architecture of many centuries, the current embassy is rendered in memory of the land on which it takes place.

Austria Embassy, Bangkok

austria flag of the pledge

A diplomatic building serves as a significant social-cultural and technical link for one nation in another cultural area. Respecting the features of both countries leads to a symbiotic climate. Austrian science, energy and technology achievements are intertwined with culturally unique Thai ways of life and building traditions. The beginning of our design is the appreciation for social accomplishments in Thai cohabitation and the study of Thai traditional building typologies. The beginning of our design process is the appreciation for social accomplishments in Thai cohabitation and the study of Thai traditional building typologies.

Switzerland Embassy, Nairobi

switzerland embassy

Crafted by Lucerne-based architects ro.ma, the New Swiss Embassy in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi is an architecturally superior building that reflects Switzerland in an apt way. At the same time, it integrates local construction practices and local businesses and manages to put together in a cohesive spatial framework the necessary aspects of accessibility, protection, and sustainability.

Finland Embassy, New Delhi

"Reima and Raili Pietila" won the design competition for the Finnish Embassy to be located in the diplomatic enclave in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, in 1963 with a beautiful and solid competition entry called "Snow speaks on the mountains." The project was commissioned in 1980 after a long delay and redesigned based on the initial model.

Finally, in 1986, the embassy opened with the wide single roof expanse of the 1960's design split into six separate lateral buildings around a central garden area. The most important architectural characteristic of the embassy complex, the sculptural roofs, mimic the shapes of the snowy Kitkajarvi Lake near Kuusamo, Northern Finland.

Franco-German Embassy, Dhaka

franco-german embassy

The shared ambition of the Franco-German Embassy in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, introduced itself as a powerful opportunity for the design team to illustrate in a single building the theme of duality and unity. This synergy between the two nations has led to a formal notion of permanent growth being suggested. As the "political and economic driver" of modern Europe, the double DNA-like spiral reflects France and Germany's complex relationship.

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