Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Julie Bishop MP announced Australian architecture practice Bates Smart as the design consultant for the new Australian Embassy in Washington.
The competition winning design by Bates Smart, in partnership with local firm KCCT, is to be located at the diplomatic heart of Washington with views of the White House.
The environmentally sensitive design embodies the spirit of Australia through direct references to the distinctive Australian landscape: its bright and clear natural light and open skies, its warm materiality and its vast scale. The use of these associations will create a civic building and symbol of Australia that is both enduring and welcoming.
An expansive glass atrium floods the centre of the building with natural light. At ground floor level a large open public space announces itself as the grand entry into the building looking back towards the White House. This space leads guests into a sequence of finely crafted open, exhibition gallery and bespoke function spaces used for ceremonial and public functions.
Surrounding the atrium space on the upper levels is a series of flexible working areas, creating a highly contemporary, healthy and open workspace setting.
Innovative environmental design solutions permeate the building achieving the highest global environmental design standards available. Features include a thermally efficient façade, a green roof with an extensive photovoltaic array, expansive use of natural light and the latest building services technologies.
The new Australian Embassy will replace the existing embassy building which was also designed by Bates Smart in 1964. The original design by Sir Osbourne McCutcheon was the first purpose-built Australian embassy building since Australia House was constructed in London in 1918.
Kristen Whittle, Director, Bates Smart comments:
“It is with great pride that we have the opportunity to replace this building with the next generation of Bates Smart design. The design of the new Embassy has been inspired by the unique and beguiling beauty of the Australian landscape. The project has a refined and rich materiality which will make it stand out in Washington.”