US Launches Design Competition for New London Embassy

7 October 2008 (Last Updated October 7th, 2008 18:30)

The US Government has announced plans to launch an international competition to design its new embassy in Wandsworth, South London. This comes after the US State Department announced its intention to move its diplomatic facility from its current location in West London's Grosvenor Squar

The US Government has announced plans to launch an international competition to design its new embassy in Wandsworth, South London.

This comes after the US State Department announced its intention to move its diplomatic facility from its current location in West London's Grosvenor Square to the Nine Elms Opportunity Area close to Battersea Power Station.

US Ambassador to Britain, Robert Tuttle said that the department had considered renovating the current site but had instead opted to move.

"In the end, we realised that the goal of a modern, secure and environmentally sustainable embassy could best be met by constructing a new facility," Tuttle said.
The United States has been selling embassies and other diplomatic buildings around the world as it consolidates diplomatic staff into more secure and modern compounds, often away from city centres.

The US Government has already signed an agreement with developer Ballymore to buy a suitable plot even as the proposal still needs approval from the US Congress.

The plans leaves the future of the 1960 Saarinen building, which the embassy occupied for 48 years, in doubt, with some reports claiming the six-storey building could be bulldozed to make way for flats and a hotel.

By Daniel Garrun.