The new US embassy is billed to be open later this year. The building is a giant structure situated close to the River Thames in London.

The cost for the construction of the new embassy is estimated to be $1 billion and has sparked controversy as soon as it was announced. Critics are of the view that the glass cube Architectural Design of the building by Kieran Timberlake, a Philadelphia firm, is too close to a ring of ponds and gardens and, hence a forbidden project.

Congress criticism

At a hearing held in 2015, Congress Members lambasted the price describing it as outrageous.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who chaired the House Committee that scrutinized the project criticized the government for the award of the project. He accused the government of mismanagement. “This is a building project with an opulent-looking glass faced that supports serenity and aesthetics over security and consciousness,” he said.

He further stated that a building of such magnitude like embassy should first consider the security implications, today’s security needs are stringent and complicated, and hence all designs most revolves around this before coming up with such impeccable structures. He suggested that any new American embassy building project should have at least 100-foot setback from streets with well-fitted walls or fence around its perimeter to avoid vehicular attacks.

New ways of designing embassies

Embassies are not only for the protection of Foreign Service staff from danger but are also the face of the US presence around the world. In as much as people are concerned, they serve as the first line of contact with its government and a symbol of the United States values and cultures, he added.

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In a similar vein, a Californian architect Thom Mayne who is widely famous for his form making pattern designed a groundbreaking American embassy building in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon in April. This modern edifice encompassed all the security concerns of modern embassies into its design features with its aesthetical and façade glass design.

Reason for the change in design pattern

The former US embassy in London that is being replaced was designed by Eero Saarinen, which was situated in Grosvenor Square in central London, bringing US diplomacy into the very core of the city of London, the building harbored a library that was opened to the public.

The 1983 terrorist attack on US embassy in Beirut which claimed 63 lives and the 1998 bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed more than 200 people echoed the need for embassies and consulates around the world to hardened security in its future designs.