Cutting-Edge U.S. Embassy in London Opens Chock-Full of Art This Week

  • January 14, 2018 18:32

  • Email
View southwest at the new U.S. Embassy London in Nine Elms, across park. Photographer: Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com
DETAIL of Rachel Whiteread's US Embassy (Flat pack house; 2013-1015).
Courtesy Gagosian. Photo: Mike Bruce

The 1960s building that housed the U.S. embassy in London needed costly renovations and posed security risks in busy Mayfair, prompting a decision in 2007 to purchase a new site. Opening to the public on January 16, the new U.S. embassy resides in South London's Nine Elms area, below the Thames, where officials will unveil a "modern, welcoming, safe and energy efficient embassy for the 21st century."

Surrounded by a moat, the new embassy is a glass cube with hidden fortifications that cost about $1 billion, according to reports, making it the most expensive embassy in the world. Officials are quick to point out that the security demands of our post-9/11 world contributed to costs. 

The project was funded entirely by the proceeds of the sale of other U.S. Government properties in London.

Besides its impressive energy efficiency and environmental design, the new US embassy was planned by Philadelphia-based architects Kieran Timberlake with openness, diplomacy, functionality, security and value, in mind---along with large-scale art.

Advertisement

The US State Dept. program known as Art in Embassies, which employs art in cultural diplomacy outreach, commissioned some monumental works for the new embassy.

One piece is Rachel Whiteread's US Embassy (Flat pack house; 2013-1015), a wall sculpture at the entrance of the embassy, which is joined by works by such contemporary art luminaries as Sean Scully, Mark Bradford and Jenny Holzer.

The embassy's website says, "As it unfolds about the central core, the art can be experienced both within the major public spaces and from the outside as part of the continuum of spiraling walks and landscape form."

Rendering
Kieran Timberlake

Each floor also features gardens, representing landscapes across America, from Pacific forests to the Gulf Coast.

At the groundbreaking, Ambassador Barzun said, “We are proud to be putting down roots in Nine Elms.  And we’re proud to provide an anchor for more businesses and jobs, bringing thousands of new neighbors to fuel economic revitalization here.”

“It is the most secure, hi-tech and environmentally friendly embassy that the United States has ever built,” recently added current Ambassador Johnson. 

“Purchased and built from the sale of our London properties, the new embassy did not cost the US taxpayer a cent," explained Johsnon. "Yet is one of the most advanced embassies we have ever built.”


  • Email

More News Feed Headlines

Kanye West at Coachella, 2011.  West's Yeezy brand was awarded a PPP loan.

Some Parts of Arts Industry Got Multimillions in PPP Loans

  • ArtfixDaily / July 7th, 2020

A slice of the $521 billion in government economic relief meant for small businesses in the U.S. during the ...

Read More...
At MASS MoCA, Martin Puryear, "Big Bling," 2016.  Pressure-treated laminated timbers, plywood, chain-link fencing, fiberglass, and gold leaf.  Courtesy of the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Massachusetts Museums Are Readying to Reopen; Find Fresh Exhibitions and Art Walks in The Berkshires

  • ArtfixDaily / July 7th, 2020

The three largest museums in the Berkshires⁠—the Clark Art Institute, MASS MoCA and the Norman Rockwell Museum—plan ...

Read More...
DETAIL: Joana Vasconcelos, Rubra, 2016; Murano glass, wool yarn, ornaments, LED lighting, polyester, and iron, 69 1/4 x 43 in.  diameter; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Christine Suppes; Photo by Francesco Allegretto

National Museum of Women in the Arts Acquires Over 170 Works by 4 Artists

  • ArtfixDaily / July 7th, 2020

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) has announced recent major collection acquisitions that reflect a ...

Read More...

U.K. Provides Nearly $2 Billion For Struggling Arts Sector

  • The Hollywood Reporter / July 6th, 2020

The British government announced Sunday a £1.57 billion ($1.96 billion) rescue package for the U.K.'s arts and ...

Read More...
Spencer Helfen Fine Arts - Special Exhibition

ARTFIXdaily Artwire