New US Embassy in South London is operationally carbon-neutral and achieved LEED Platinum and BREEAM Outstanding certifications.
Located within an emerging commercial and residential area in the London Borough of Wandsworth, the design team for the US Embassy in London aimed to create a modern, welcoming, timeless, safe, and energy efficient embassy building for the 21st century. The challenge was to produce a new building that not only met unique building usage needs and high security demands, but also incorporated the latest in energy-efficient building techniques to meet stringent sustainability goals.
The previous US Embassy, located on Grosvenor Square, was overcrowded and did not meet current security needs, which meant shutting down the nearby streets. Proceeds from the sale of government properties in London, including the original embassy, financed the land and construction of the new Embassy.
Desiring a modern, open, welcoming building meant that many of the security features were designed to be hidden in plain sight or behind traditional English hedge rows. The building envelope was designed to meet security needs while also having a high degree of transparency. Our design replaced this with a modern, visually appealing structurally glazed façade. The building was designed to be operationally carbon-neutral and achieve LEED Platinum and BREEAM Outstanding certifications.
There were several key measures deployed to achieve the water conservation goals, including using potable water only where needed, an on-site water recycling plant, and a sophisticated plumbing design throughout the building to address potable/non-potable solutions. Daylighting was a key driver in building design to minimize the need for electric lighting, thereby reducing energy consumption.
The building dimensions afforded an optimum distance for daylight and view, and the façade and interior finishes and furniture were thoroughly analysed and designed to maximize natural daylighting within interior spaces.
Integrating indirect and task lighting, and lighting vertical surfaces opposite windows, offers a balanced lighting environment while maintaining all required lighting levels for task and viewing areas. The building façade uses multiple layer laminated glazing with an outer scrim of tensioned ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) sails on the east, west and south façades to screen solar gain and glare while ensuring a uniform distribution of daylight to the building interior.
There are also photovoltaic panels located on the roof, providing effective, low-maintenance methods of producing electricity on site.
Our team of innovative designers were well-matched to our client’s forward-thinking leadership, and we worked together to provide a complex design with innovative solutions. As a direct result of the New London Embassy, the surrounding neighbourhood is flourishing.
The new consular experience is drastically improved. With much larger waiting rooms, privacy booths, comfortable seating, and a beautiful view of the Thames River, visitors seeking passports and visas are no longer miserable. Moving all staff from multiple locations to this new building also meant that everyone received improved office and amenity spaces.
Our design team worked with the client to achieve an incredible amount of innovation for this building type, pushing the envelope in sustainable design approaches, while providing a great space to work in an improved neighbourhood.
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United States Government