According to a statement by the US Embassador in the UK, KieranTimberlake´s design “meets the goal of creating a modern, welcoming, timeless, safe and energy efficient embassy for the 21st century.”
Regarding the “safety” issues, KT’s design shows an interesting solution away from embassies from the early 90s surrounded by large walls with no urban considerations, using a park with a pond instead. The Embassy is no only an icon, but an urban piece “honoring the English tradition of urban parks and gardens as the context for many civic buildings”, connecting the Thames embankment to the new pedestrian way to the south.
“Viewed from the north at the proposed plaza, the embassy grounds will provide the prospect of an open park, a landscape of grasses rising gracefully to the new embassy colonnade, with the required secure boundaries incised into the hillside and out of view. Instead of a perimeter-walled precinct, the site to the north and south is a welcoming urban amenity, a park for the city that fuses the new embassy to the city of London. Alternatives to perimeter walls and fences are achieved through landscape design.”
The pure geometry of the cube is fragmented by a highly specialized ETFE (ethylene-tetrafluroethylene, used in several recent buildings) facade optimized to shade interiors from east, west and south sun while admitting daylight and framing large open view portals to the outside. If you take a closer look to the renderings from the inside you will notice that the ETFE foils include thin photovoltaic film that intercepts unwanted solar gain in certain angles. The scrim also renders the largely transparent façades visible to migratory birds to discourage bird-strikes.
More information and renderings about the Embassy after the break. I also recommend to read our interview with Stephan Kieran.