1785 John Adams, first ambassador to Britain, Grovsner Square
1960 Eero Saarinen designs current building
The architect sought to resolve the typically isolationist attitude imposed by a more traditional compound, by placing the Embassy in a park. Though alluding to other urban parks in London, the integration of security into the landscaping immediately prevents a truly public space emerging; ensuing conflicts between civil liberty and private security will have only one outcome.
The new embassy aims to embody the self-proclaimed ideals of transparency, openness and equality.
Thus the building’s concept revolves around an architecture of symbolism. Each element acts as a constituent metaphor, aggregating into a physical manifestation of American Self Image.
The inherent strength of such a platonic form clearly defines the true purpose of the façade as this outward expression of desired identity. Both invincibly monolithic and delicately crystalline, each elevation reads as a veneer that shrouds the clandestine mass within. In organising the internal plan and external circulation and access, the spiral simultaneously alludes to the labyrinth. Like the mythical lair of the Minotaur, the embassy defines American interest.
In their totality these structures state an explicit and unilateral purpose, to create a triumphant monument to the supremacy of an autonomous nation.
An architectural advertising campaign.
By Ainslie Innes
Ainslie is a student at the University of Dundee currently finishing off his part II in architecture.
You can follow his blog from the link below.