Thursday, November 14, 2013

Breaking Ground In London, But Watch The Carbon Neutrality And Water Self-Sufficiency!

The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has got a really hot hand right now, what with yesterday's groundbreaking for a new London embassy, plus the announcement of four new construction contracts for embassy renovations, and that coming on top of the four new embassy construction contracts it announced last week.

From the London press release:
In an important symbol of our enduring friendship with the United Kingdom, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Matthew W. Barzun and Director of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) Lydia Muniz broke ground on the new U.S. Embassy in London today.

The new Embassy, designed by KieranTimberlake of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will be situated on a 4.9-acre site in the Nine Elms Opportunity Planning Area and will include a chancery, a consular section, support spaces, a U.S. Marine residence, access pavilions, and parking.

Its design incorporates sustainable features at the leading edge of practice, including aspirations for carbon neutrality, a self-sufficient water system, as well as goals for minimum certification at Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) Excellent.

-- snip --

OBO’s mission is to provide safe, secure, and functional facilities that represent the U.S. Government to the host nation and support our staff in the achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives.

For its reported cost of one billion dollars, I hope that new embassy comes with an unprecedented degree of 'safe, secure, and functional' in addition to all of that greeny carbon neutrality stuff.

The four renovation projects that OBO announced this week were for Vilnius, Lithuania (see the press release here), Wellington, New Zealand (here), Freetown, Sierra Leone (here), and Budapest, Hungary (here).

U.S. Legation and Embassy since 1935 (photo:

Budapest is a personal favorite city - and embassy - of mine. I'll be sorry if the day ever comes when we replace that elegant old building, drenched in the history of modern Europe from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the end of the Cold War, with a 'safe, secure, and functional' nonentity of a Fortress Embassy.


Anonymous said...

The building crew are all well-paid legals with good bennies, yes? If not, then a little sabotage by those with current access to the infrastructure could be a significant risk.

As I recall, Cape Town had a few diplomatic posts in spectacularly lush buildings with ocean views. Terribly vulnerable though. I wonder how many are still standing, though I don't wonder enough to go look it up.

Snakesmommy J

TSB said...

I fondly remember spending a week or so in Capetown on business at the old U.S. Consulate - not at all a lush building, back then. Such a great city!

James said...

TSB: Do a little research on the history of LEED, you might find it interesting.

Anonymous said...

TSB:Way out here in Seattle we are way ahead of the Bobbies! In addition to having one of the most corrupt police forces in the country Seattle has the latest in Homeland Security gadgets. If you are in Seattle with a phone you are being constantly tracked and that info is available instantly to all law enforcement agencies. gwb (SPD says "Ooops! We were just shutting that system down.

Anonymous said...

TSB: Watching Sen. Cornyn calling for Michael Cahill to be honored (for attempting to stop Maj. Hasan 4 yrs ago at Ft. Hood) with a purple heart and for his wife to receive the benefits she has thus far been de nied by the weasles who decided this was 'workplace violence'and not an Al
Queada inspired attack. It's about time! gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Hats off to Amb. Locke. His goals were good and accomplished and he was smart enough to avoid spouting NSA lies in public. (probably thinking about being one of Hillary's token guys in the cabinet. gwb