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New U.S. Embassy in London to Have a Meadow, a Forest, a Moat, and Quick Access to Gay Club Scene

Embassy

The winning design for the new U.S. Embassy in London has been unveiled:

"The U.S. State Department has increased security at its embassies across the world in the past decade, but efforts to increase security at its historic embassy in London led to a protracted battle with the building's neighbors, according to The Times of London. Consequently, the U.S. is building a $1 billion new, high-security facility in a less dense part of London. The 12-story building, designed by Philadelphia-based architecture firm Kieran Timberlake, will use its surrounding natural setting to protect it from potential terrorist threats -- a meadow, woodland and a moat will buffer the embassy the main road."

It's also in a new location: "While the Grosvenor Square embassy is near expensive restaurants and boutiques, the new building will be in the Nine Elms area of Wandsworth, a district 'under transition,' according to the AP. The Times described the site as 'known for its gay clubs.'"

The complex is projected to cost $1 billion.

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Comments

  1. Londoner here. I'll be sure to let you know when I find your ambassadors searching for some euro-cock!

    Posted by: luke | Feb 24, 2010 12:46:40 PM


  2. I worked at the current embassy in Grosvenor Sq. and the building was old and busted. Unless 70s era decor is your thing it wasn't a good thing. Another oddity is that the ground the embassy resides on in wasn't owned by the American govt, but leased to them by the city. So they didn't have much in the way of choice when it came down to securing the building or modifying it in any way.

    Posted by: msbutah | Feb 24, 2010 12:54:52 PM


  3. 1 Billion???

    Posted by: Matt | Feb 24, 2010 1:10:29 PM


  4. From Wikipedia:

    "This embassy, as with many U.S. embassies in the world, is situated on land that is not owned by the U.S. government. The land is leased from the Duke of Westminster who, when asked if he would sell the land outright, responded that he would if the U.S. Government would return the land that belonged to his family in the U.S. before it was confiscated during the Revolutionary War. The Duke refused to grant a freehold because, from the Duke's perspective, the U.S. Government had stolen some of his ancestor's estates in Virginia."

    The building was designed by Eero Saarinen in the 50s and is Grade 2 listed - which means architecturally it can't be altered without English Heritage consent. The neighbours in Grosvenor Square were outraged by the Bush administrations security plans and objected vociferously - really making the move necessary.

    It's quite a big thing; I don't know if there are any foreign embassies at all south of the river, or indeed outside of W1.

    Posted by: Hedgie | Feb 24, 2010 1:14:31 PM


  5. I don't see a forest, but I definitely see a few trees.

    Posted by: johnny | Feb 24, 2010 1:33:57 PM


  6. Matt, don't worry. Some of the cost is being defrayed by the sale of the old embassy which is reportedly valued at nearly half a billion dollars. The U.S already has a buyer.

    Posted by: Craig | Feb 24, 2010 2:11:08 PM


  7. That doesn't matter. Half a billion dollars for an embassy is government waste. They should open a lemonade stand.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 24, 2010 2:58:35 PM


  8. @MSBUTAH You are 20 years off mate. The old embassy dates from the 50s. It wasn't leased to them by the city but by the Duke of Westminster.

    @CRAIG The old embassy was sold for a $1 Billion so it costs the US taxpayer nothing.

    Posted by: Winston | Feb 24, 2010 3:05:35 PM


  9. @Winston
    If the old embassy wasn't owned by the US, then I suppose the US wouldn't get any of that $$$. Therefor it's going to cost the US taxpayer $1 Billion... or am I missing something here?

    Posted by: Diligent | Feb 24, 2010 5:20:02 PM


  10. so which of those 'perks' was highest on the list?

    Posted by: WilDGuy | Feb 24, 2010 5:48:03 PM


  11. Sorry, but Wandsworth isn't known for its gay clubs.

    Posted by: funny that way | Feb 24, 2010 5:51:54 PM


  12. @Diligent - The building itself was owned by the US, not the land under it. So that's the catch there. The US Embassy in Baghdad cost $1B too. I wonder if this one will have a swimming pool like that one does? Do you happen to know who the buyer is? I wonder what they'll do with my old office there.

    Posted by: msbutah | Feb 24, 2010 7:04:33 PM


  13. we r F>>kin broke and gonna spend a billion in London for this crap! so who;s gonna build it> londoners? there goes more American jobs... this Admin sucks!

    Posted by: mez | Feb 24, 2010 10:42:16 PM


  14. "The US Embassy in Baghdad cost $1B too."

    And that was government waste under buscho. This just obliterates the notion that fiscal conservatism ever existed (even those crank teapartiers are for excessive government spending on defense). The baghdad embassy cost millions more than the trump tower chicago, and over 2/3 of the cost of the burj khalifa, to put it into perspective.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 24, 2010 10:52:49 PM


  15. The land of the current embassy isn't owned by the city. It's owned by the Duke of Westminster. Moving the embassy will be a win-win, and allow the Duke's Grosvenor Estate to restore the square to its original proportions.

    Posted by: Jimbo | Feb 25, 2010 12:51:03 AM


  16. The projected building itself does not look very interesting or attractive: can one see more details somewhere?

    Posted by: Sqqueak | Feb 25, 2010 8:39:54 AM


  17. @ Funny That Way

    This site is a stone's throw from Vauxhall, which is very much known for it's gay clubs, bars, gym, baths, etc. You can see this site from the steps of Club Coliseum.

    Posted by: Frank | Feb 25, 2010 12:39:15 PM


  18. Ummm...what gay clubs in Wandsworth???

    Posted by: Chris | Feb 26, 2010 12:37:54 AM


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