UK Design Watchdog Dismisses US Embassy Plans

6 August 2009 (Last Updated August 6th, 2009 18:30)

The UK’s Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe) has refused to support the plans for Britain’s new US Embassy in Battersea, London, following a design review. Cabe said the proposed £500m complex “raises serious concerns” including the footprint of the site, its r

The UK’s Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe) has refused to support the plans for Britain’s new US Embassy in Battersea, London, following a design review.

Cabe said the proposed £500m complex “raises serious concerns” including the footprint of the site, its relationship to nearby Nine Elms Lane and the nature and deliverability of the public realm elements”.

“We are not convinced that the current layout makes sufficient contribution to civilising the existing street or generating intuitive pedestrian way finding,” Cabe added.

Oregon-based firm Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects had submitted outline plans for the high-security development of the embassy.

The development proposals include a main building of between 40,000m2 and 50,000m2 with three entrance pavilions in addition to transport changes around the location.

An architect for the final scheme has yet to be decided so many practices including US firms Kieran Timberlake, Thom Mayne’s Morphosis Architects, Pei Cobb Freed and Richard Meier are currently shortlisted in a major competition.