The Moment - Feb 22, 2020

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.

Rendering
Kieran Timberlake

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."

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

A large-scale work by Tim Burton, from a previous show.

Tim Burton Stages Site-Specific Exhibition at Neon Museum in Las Vegas

  • View images from Las Vegas Review-journal / October 15th, 2019

For the first time in nearly a decade, renowned American film director, producer, artist, writer and animator Tim ...

Read More...
Shown in the 2014 exhibition "Degas/Cassatt" at the National Gallery of Art, Mary Cassatt, The Loge, c.  1878–1880, oil on canvas.

On Stage, 'The Independents' Probes the Colorful Relationship of Artists Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas

  • ArtfixDaily / October 15th, 2019

A visit to the National Gallery of Art in DC five years ago sparked the imagination of playwright Christopher Ward. ...

Read More...
In the second half of 2019, Sotheby’s fall sales series in Hong Kong, with 3,423 lots sold across 20 auctions conducted over five days, brought a total of HK$3.35 billion / US$426 million – the sixth consecutive Hong Kong series to exceed US$400 million (Estimate: HK$2.5 – 3.57 billion / US$318 – 456 million).

Global Art Market Slows in First Half of 2019

  • Barron's / October 14th, 2019

The global art market slowed due to political and economic uncertainty in the first half of 2019, according to ...

Read More...
Masters of engineering student Karly Bast of MIT shows off the scale model of a bridge designed by Leonardo da Vinci that she and her co-workers used to prove the design’s feasibility.  Credit: Gretchen Ertl

MIT Engineers Prove Leonardo da Vinci Was a Master...at Bridge Design

  • ArtfixDaily / October 10th, 2019

Some 500 years after his death, Leonardo da Vinci is still well-known as a Renaissance master artist and prolific ...

Read More...

ARTFIXdaily Artwire