London: U.S. Embassy

Flag at half mast to pay respects for Queen Elizabeth’s passing. For the sake of the photo, I took a few trying to get one with the flag blowing in the air- but honestly I’m too lazy and I was happier to have a mild than a stronger wind that would grace me with a better photo.

I totally would have thought that the U.S. Embassy would be north bank, but to find it in this newly constructed part of town and with a moat no less, was quite remarkable.

What caught my eye about this building from afar was the skin-like membrane on the exterior of the building. The sunlight helped to communicate that the skin was translucent. Interestingly, only on 3 sides of the building.

2 things I’m curious about here. One- what does this building look like at night? With the flat facade on just one side, there is an interesting pattern of the white vertical structural elements, I hope they’ve taken advantage of that in some way. Perhaps the lights just stay on- 24/7.

Second- what is the cut out at the top corner of the building all about? This building seems literally like a square box- what’s the function that driving that form? But “covers” can be deceiving as The Broad proved. I wonder if the inside is occupied by dull- but secure- office floors or maybe an opportunity has been taken for a deeper reflective statement about state of affairs through the design. All that being said- I hope I never make it inside- a rare statement for me on this journey- because that probably means something not great has happened.

Without knowing what this building is about or what it contains- its pretty clear that its making a statement of its presence.

Address: 33 Nine Elms Ln, Nine Elms, London SW11 7US, United Kingdom

Website: Architectural Review write up