Oval Partnership Briefing Note
The US Embassy in Grosvenor Square opened in 1960. The building, now grade II listed, was designed by Eero Saarinen, a Finnish-American modernist architect. The aging building and security concerns, particularly following the September 11, 2001 attacks, have prompted the US Government to move the embassy.
In 2008, a conditional agreement was made with property developers Barrymore to purchase land at Nine Elms for the new embassy (see area outlined in yellow in top picture).
It was a requirement of United States law that the “lead designer of the embassy must be an American firm with the required security clearance.” A competition was held and a team, led by Kieran Timberlake, a Philadephia based architectural firm, won.
The winning design for the new US embassy, London has been described as a crystalline cube as shown here on the right. The building will be surrounded by extensive public green spaces with security passively built into the landscape.
The design brief was to create “a modern, welcoming, timeless, safe and energy efficient embassy for the 21st century” aiming for “a carbon-neutral building on the leading edge of sustainable design”. This will certainly be true if the forecasts are realised - the embassy will be a net producer of energy!
Building work is expected to start by 2013 and be finished by 2017