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United States Embassy of Beijing At 500,000 square feet, the new U.S. Embassy in Beijing is the second largest Embassy compound ever undertaken by the United States government. Located on a ten-acre site northeast of the Forbidden City in Beijing's new Third Embassy District, the new Embassy is a multi-building campus punctuated by gardens and art. The design emphasizes environmental sustainability and presents an open, gracious and civic face to the city of Beijing. Over 700 Embassy personnel are accommodated within a secure and socially engaging workplace. The importance of the relationship between China and the United States is reflected by the care taken in the architectural selection process, which emphasized design excellence. The State Department endeavored to select a design that would represent "the best in American architecture" through an invited, national design competition. In making its selection, the design competition jury praised the winning scheme by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP for its "innovative, modern design that respects China's cultural and environmental qualities while honoring and expressing American values through architectural means." The Embassy is organized into three "neighborhoods": a social neighborhood with retail and recreation spaces, a professional neighborhood with office space, and the Consular neighborhood. The Embassy's Consular Pavilion serves as America's front door to China. Chinese visa applicants cross a lotus garden pond on a stone-framed wooden bridge, arriving at a generous portico-an American front porch. An ethos of sustainable design underlies the overall Embassy design. The Consular Pavilion directly conveys America's commitment to global sustainability to the Chinese public. The Pavilion uses thermal mass to minimize peak energy demand, resting within one of the lotus ponds which hold and purify storm water. The Pavilion's luminous roof floods its interior spaces with natural light through a set of baffled skylights. The generous use of natural light defines the public and employee interior spaces throughout the Embassy. The largest of the buildings, at eight stories high, is perhaps the most innovative of the Embassy's structures. A scrim of transparent, translucent and opaque glass wraps the building as a veil. The qualities of this glass veil transform as the quality of light changes throughout the day. It appears as a luminous tapestry during the day, while at night the entire structure becomes a softly glowing lantern.

Project name: United States Embassy of Beijing Award date: 2010 Location: Beijing, China Site area: 500,000 ft2 Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP Client: State Department USA Photographer: Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP Completion date: 2008 Award name: McGraw-Hill Construction 3rd Bi-Annual "Good Design Is Good Business" China Awards 2010, Best Public Project

Good Design in China  

The book, co-published by LST Publishing House and McGraw-Hill, is a collection of 45 award-winning projects from three "Good Design Is Good...

Good Design in China  

The book, co-published by LST Publishing House and McGraw-Hill, is a collection of 45 award-winning projects from three "Good Design Is Good...

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