OLIN’s landscape design is a synthesis of the U.S. government’s goals for sustainability, security, accessibility and design excellence; with a team led by KieranTimberlake, OLIN crafted an embassy design that gives form to the core beliefs of democracy—transparency, openness, and equality—in a way that is at once secure, welcoming, and sustainable. OLIN’s competition winning landscape is a contemporary approach to the English tradition of urban parks and gardens as the context for civic buildings. The design’s spiraling walks and sculpted meadow terrains form the Embassy grounds, winding into the lobby and promenade overlooking a freshwater pond and the Thames to the north. The landscape design expresses these ideas formally but also through the selection of landscape materials. The spiral continues up through the building in interior gardens based on six significant American landscapes. Plantings chosen for the project were selected on the basis of commonalities between species common to the United Kingdom and the U.S.—a result of their being brought by English settlers and explorers to the New World. The result is a true embodiment of the United States’ deep bond with the U.K., the embassy’s connection to the city and people of London, and the fundamental tenets of American democracy.
London, United Kingdom
U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Building Operations
2013, London Centre for the Built Environment, New London Architecture Award