The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has recently opened the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. The design by Ennead Architects aims to balance transparency and openness with security, according to a press statement. The design also seeks both to honor Turkey’s architectural traditions and to meet OBO’s goals of sustainability, resiliency, and stewardship.
“By reinterpreting Turkish design history in a contemporary way, we’re proud to deliver a civic-minded and purpose-driven facility that reflects U.S. values of transparency, openness, and accessibility,” Felicia Berger, Ennead principal and project manager, said in the statement.
On the sloped, nine-acre site, the project’s series of courtyards draws inspiration from Turkish courtyard design. The inclined procession eliminates the need for stairs, creating a direct path from the public way to the front door.
The Embassy’s main arrival plaza serves as the first courtyard. Set back from the street, the landscaped courtyard, with trees and other plants, blurs the boundary between the Embassy and the city, while offering a respite from the surrounding business district.
Internal courtyards bring light into the building. They also create outdoor spaces for both large, formal gatherings and quieter diplomatic exchange.
Ennead selected regionally sourced materials that reflect the history of masonry in Turkey. Materials also were chosen for their low embodied environmental impact, high recycled content, durability, and responsible sourcing. In addition to stone, the Chancery façade’s concrete screen offers daylight and views of the outside, and security and privacy on the inside. Referencing Turkish materials, the interior and exterior incorporate marble, travertines, native wood varieties, and local ceramics.
The Embassy is a LEED Silver Certified building. Energy demand is reduced with highly insulated exterior walls; efficient mechanical, electrical, and lighting systems; and solar thermal water heating. Water consumption is minimized with ultra-low flow plumbing fixtures, climate-appropriate landscaping, and harvested rainwater.
On the Building Team:
Owner/developer: Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO)
Design architect and architect of record: Ennead Architects
Local architect: Emre Arolat Architecture
MEP engineer: Mason & Hanger
Structural engineer: LERA
Protective design engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
General contractor: B.L. Harbert International