The new building of the United States Embassy, located in the London suburb of Nine Elms, southwest, on December 18, 2017
The new US embassy in London, which Donald Trump placed at the center of the controversy, is a strength in a neighborhood without grace that embodies the challenge of combining a good appearance with the new demands on security.
There is no memory of when the last moated building was built in London – the most famous of which is the Tower of London – probably in the Middle Ages, but the new American embassy, designed by architect Kieran Timberlake (architects) Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake), has one that would avoid, for example, an attack with a truck.
The embassy is a cube of transparent glass, supported on a colonnade and is covered with stylized and undulating bars that distinguish it. The building – and that’s where the controversy with Trump came from – is in an ungraceful, industrial and poorly communicated neighborhood on the banks of the River Thames, known as Nine Elms.
The construction has cost around 1,000 million dollars, which are believed to have been largely financed by the sale of the old legacy to a Qatar investment fund that will convert it into a hotel.
The new building does not create unanimity among critics. The Economist magazine said: „Those desperate to find a symbol of the current US administration in the new embassy in Nine Elms will find one too easily: it is a squat and fortified bucket inside a pit“.
The Sunday newspaper The Observer compared its decoration „to a vanilla-latte from Starbucks,“ the American coffee chain.
Trump alleged the bad business of moving from Grosvenor Square, in the beautiful Mayfair neighborhood, to Nine Elms to suspend his visit to London.
„It’s like moving from the Upper East Side from New York to New Jersey,“ Peter Rees, who was responsible for urban planning in the City of London, told the New York Times.
Since, in 1785, John Adams – later president – became the first ambassador of the newborn United States in his old metropolis, Washington always had his legation in that square, although the last building that hosted it was 1960 and, as This, never liked everyone.
The Grosvenor building, crowned with a large eagle that had become his password, had become obsolete, „it did not meet the needs of a modern office and the demands of security,“ said the former US ambassador to London, Louis Susan. , to unveil the winning project of Kieran Timberlake.
US diplomatic missions have been frequent targets of attacks, such as Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, destroyed by a bomb in 1998, or assaults, such as that of Tehran in 1979 after the triumph of the Islamic revolution – which led to the kidnapping during months of his diplomats – or, more recently, the consulate of Benghazi, which ended with the assassination of the ambassador in Libya Chris Stevens.
Therefore, the emphasis is now on security. The designers of the building said they faced the challenge of creating „a great sense of welcome to the community, and at the same time meet the specific functional requirements of security, diplomatic work and environmental sustainability.“