The new U.S. embassy in Malta might possibly pose a dilemma for art critics of the Standard Embassy Design. How do you complain that the new embassy looks like a fortress when the nation it's in is famous for its many historic fortresses? Maybe this time we aren't isolating our mission and 'expressing fear' (and so on) with our defensive architecture. Maybe we're really making an architectural reference to local history and culture?
I mean, the Maltese have been perfecting the art of building fortresses at least as far back as the 16th century, so they ought to the world's leading connoisseurs of the form. I bet the average embassy visitor there can appreciate a good perimeter wall, and will have an enjoyable aesthetic experience while he waits for his visa interview. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
United States Dedicates New Embassy Compound in Valletta, Malta:
Reflecting the importance of the United States’ diplomatic relationship with Malta, Chargé Richard M. Mills, Jr. dedicated the new United States Embassy facility in Valletta today. Malta’s President, George Abela; Prime Minister, Lawrence Gonzi; and Office Director of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), Patrick McNamara, participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The new Embassy facility, located in the Ta’Qali neighborhood of Attard near Ta’Qali National Park, was designed to incorporate green building techniques and to meet the principles of the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building rating system. The multi-building complex provides more than 125 U.S. embassy employees, both American and Maltese, with state-of-the-art work space that features a collection of contemporary Maltese, American, and Maltese-American art, curated by the Office of Art in Embassies.
A.I.C.I-SP of Arlington, Virginia constructed the facility, which was designed by the architectural firm Karn Charuhas Chapman Twohey (KCCT) of Washington, D.C. The $125 million project generated jobs in both the United States and Malta. The new facility was completed in May 2011 and, at times, involved more than 800 workers in its construction.
Since the 1999 enactment of the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act, the Department has moved more than 24,000 people into safer facilities. Including the new Embassy in Malta, OBO has completed 82 diplomatic facilities and has an additional 35 projects in design or construction.