U.S. Embassy – Beijing

U.S. Embassy Beijing
U.S. Embassy Beijing
U.S. Embassy Beijing

Project Facts
  • Completion Year 2008
  • Design Finish Year 2003
  • Size Site Area: 4 hectares Building Height: 45 meters Number of Stories: 8 Building Gross Area: 46,500
  • Awards
    2010, Merit Award, AIA California 2009, Excellence in Architecture: Citation Award, AIA San Francisco 2010, Good Design Is Good Business China Awards: Best Public Project, Architectural Record 2010, Award of Merit: Landmark Structures, Structural Engineers Association of Northern California 2011, International Structures over $100 Million, National Council of Structural Engineers Association 2013, Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) Award, U.S. Department Of State - Arlington
  • Collaborators
    Claude Engle Lighting Design Urs Corp. Sako & Associates Inc. (Sako) Shen Milsom & Wilke Gerald Ratto Photography Hinman Consulting Engineers Bradley / Parker & Associates Maryland Office Interiors (Moi) Cini-Little International, Inc. Edgett Wiliams Consulting Group Inc. (EWCG) Peter Walker and Partners Landscape Architecture Rolf Jensen & Associates Project Management Services Inc. Woods Peacock ** All consultant info should not be released - Info is classified as "Sensitive But Unclassified/NoForn" **
Project Facts
  • Completion Year 2008
  • Design Finish Year 2003
  • Size Site Area: 4 hectares Building Height: 45 meters Number of Stories: 8 Building Gross Area: 46,500
  • Awards
    2010, Merit Award, AIA California 2009, Excellence in Architecture: Citation Award, AIA San Francisco 2010, Good Design Is Good Business China Awards: Best Public Project, Architectural Record 2010, Award of Merit: Landmark Structures, Structural Engineers Association of Northern California 2011, International Structures over $100 Million, National Council of Structural Engineers Association 2013, Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) Award, U.S. Department Of State - Arlington
  • Collaborators
    Claude Engle Lighting Design Urs Corp. Sako & Associates Inc. (Sako) Shen Milsom & Wilke Gerald Ratto Photography Hinman Consulting Engineers Bradley / Parker & Associates Maryland Office Interiors (Moi) Cini-Little International, Inc. Edgett Wiliams Consulting Group Inc. (EWCG) Peter Walker and Partners Landscape Architecture Rolf Jensen & Associates Project Management Services Inc. Woods Peacock ** All consultant info should not be released - Info is classified as "Sensitive But Unclassified/NoForn" **

Housing more than 20 agencies and 700 employees, the U.S. Embassy complex in Beijing is the second-largest embassy compound ever built by the federal government. To mitigate its scale and to create a welcoming aesthetic, SOM divided the complex into “neighborhoods” based on functional requirements.

Eight buildings make up the 4-hectare site, including a consular services building, marine barracks, and perimeter inspection stations. The centerpiece of the complex is a gleaming, eight-story glass box whose curtain wall shifts between transparent, translucent, and opaque glass panels. At night, the illuminated office building calls to mind a traditional paper lantern.

The embassy’s design represents a fusion of Eastern and Western influences. Walkways wind through the grounds, while courtyards and pockets of green space evoke historic Chinese gardens. The visual arts also influenced the site’s design: In addition to donated works by Ellsworth Kelly and Louise Bourgeois, the noted sculptor Jeff Koons was commissioned to create the site-specific piece, Tulips, for the complex.