• US Embassy Maputo/ Allied Works Architecture

Architects: Allied Works Architecture  
Location: Maputo,  Mozambique
Project Team: KPFF Consulting Engineers, Interface Engineering, Schnabel Engineering, Hinman Engineering, AECOM, PMSI, Cerami, Hopkins Food service
Photographer: Allied Works Architecture

Project Scope: Masterplanning, Site Design, Complete Architecture Services and Interior Design

Realizing a design that incorporates security while ensuring transparency can be a hard nut to crack. However, the new US Embassy design embraces a concept that comprises an intricate interlacing of weaving, screening and revealing. The perceptual sense of safety granted to embassy habitats is surreptitiously provided through the choice of walling materials (a series of site-cast concrete walls) and a physical presence of Marine Security Guard accommodation. Ingeniously, this factor (safety) does not entirely dominate the project. Transparency does.


Situated on a 10-acre piece of land in the capital city of Maputo, within a site of hills and coastal dunes along the Indian Ocean, the project rises. The landscape it sits on cannot be disparaged. Water; hills; natural vegetation…. Generic natural beauty thus takes the centre stage in the design quest. It is only fair then for the building to respond to such praiseworthy character which it gracefully does through gracious spatial disposition and form making. A perception of openness within the site thrives. Carefully, the building masses are arranged to meander in the landscape. This consequently, controls light, air and views towards the bejeweled sceneries.


Comprising a main chancery building, facilities for the Embassy community, accommodation for Marine Security Guard and service buildings, the project offers spaces for working, living and representational events. The chancery consists of three interlinked volumes. Oriented North-South, these volumes are shrewdly merged at opposing ends to create interior connections between general work areas as well as defining exterior spaces. Visitors are given a sense of orientation through a series of wood clad volumes which run through the building’s interior from East to West and from floor to floor. Primary social functions are also housed in these volumes.


The presence of the Embassy is enhanced by the series of concrete walls that wind through the site, defining the exterior spaces and setting the building’s location. These walls have intricately done apertures that provide adequate lighting and outside views while ensuring that direct sunlight is cut off.

 

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