American company KieranTimberlake won the competition to design the new £1bn US Embassy in south London, but British practices will also play a role

Construction on the embassy is set to begin in 2013

One of these is Farrells, which is working with Camlin on masterplanning a 6a site in Nine Elms, a largely industrial area between Vauxhall and Battersea. The land, which is owned by developer Ballymore, surrounds the embassy site and will include residential, office and leisure space designed by UK firms Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and Flacq.

In addition, Arup and cost consultant Davis Langdon were among the British contributors to Philadelphia-based KieranTimberlake’s winning proposal, although the landscape architecture role has gone to Olin, also based in Philadelphia.

The US embassy team is pleased with the winning design, which the competition jury chose from a shortlist of four firms; the runners-up were Morphosis, Pei Cobb Freed and Richard Meier. A spokesman said: “The concept holds the greatest potential for developing a truly iconic embassy and is on the leading edge of sustainable design.”

But not everyone is satisfied with the decision. Prominent figures, from Ken Livingstone to Lord Rogers, have lined up to criticise the design, which comprises a scrim-covered glass cube surrounded by a moat and a park featuring trees native to North America.

Construction is set to begin in 2013, with the embassy’s 1,000 staff due to vacate the current Eero Saarinen-designed premises in Grosvenor Square in 2017.


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