Design studio The Miller Hull Partnership has drawn upon Mayan structure and the “openness and optimism” of American democracy to create an embassy in Guatemala’s capital that consists of rectilinear buildings set in a lush panorama.
Situated about 9 kilometres from the town’s historic centre, the embassy advanced sits on a sloping, 9.4-acre (3.8-hectare) website and encompasses a fundamental workplace constructing, help buildings, a storage, a gymnasium and a sports activities court docket. Roughly 300 individuals work on the campus.
Designed by Seattle’s The Miller Hull Partnership, the advanced incorporates a sequence of rectilinear volumes of various dimensions which can be set inside a richly vegetated panorama.
“The conceptual kind is reflective of the essential relationship between our two nations,” stated David Miller, founding companion of Miller Hull.
The location’s fundamental factor is the workplace constructing, which consists of conjoined bars that step down the hillside. Decrease ranges are clad in gray granite. The higher portion is a glazed tower wrapped in a brise-soleil fabricated from translucent glass with chrome steel fittings.
“The mega-structural, dark-stone base references the pre-Hispanic Mayan structure of Guatemala, whereas the sunshine and ethereal, white-steel workplace tower symbolizes the openness and optimism of the USA democracy.”
Throughout the design course of, the architects additionally thought-about the encompassing context, which incorporates mountains, forested ravines and close by ecological parks.
The constructing website posed challenges given its steepness, and the staff used a terracing method to stabilize the topography and set up the campus.
“It was a posh puzzle, working to suit all of the campus program onto a comparatively small, steeply sloped website,” stated Mathew Albores, principal at Miller Hull.
“The design manages to combine the constructing with the positioning topography and supply beneficiant outside gardens for each guests and employees.”
The location’s ample greenery, together with quite a few inexperienced roofs, are supposed to offer “water recharge, safety towards pure disasters and shelter for biodiversity,” the staff stated.
Among the many pure hazards in Guatemala Metropolis are earthquakes and tropical storms.
Inside finishes embody basalt stone flooring, uncovered concrete, walnut and machiche wooden.
Many items of paintings have been created by native artists.
A number of outside areas are shaded by metal and glass canopies. Visiting an embassy typically requires a variety of ready time, and right here, guests can comfortably wait outdoor, the architects stated.
“The design staff targeted on creating comfy areas each in and out, with shade being probably the most crucial – and easy – element of these areas as a result of Guatemala’s intense solar,” the staff stated.
Sustainability was a guiding concern for the staff, and the campus is focused to exceed the federal authorities’s objectives for vitality effectivity and renewable vitality. In keeping with the staff, the design reduces vitality consumption by 27 per cent when in comparison with an identical undertaking.
Photovoltaic arrays on two totally different buildings present about 10 per cent of the primary chancellery constructing’s vitality wants. Within the entrance foyer, a digital show exhibits how a lot vitality the arrays are producing.
The constructing’s brise-soleil reduces photo voltaic warmth achieve whereas nonetheless preserving views of the encompassing panorama.
“Balancing vitality efficiency with consolation and expertise, in depth research have been carried out on the positioning of the fins, and the way their orientation may enable for this delicate concord,” the staff stated.
As a result of Guatemala Metropolis’s restricted wastewater infrastructure, the staff integrated an on-site system for treating wastewater and reusing it for irrigation. Detention tanks assist deal with stormwater runoff.
The embassy undertaking was guided by a Miller Hull initiative referred to as Emission Zero, which goals to get rid of carbon emissions by design, schooling and advocacy.
As a part of this initiative, the agency calculated embodied carbon emissions that have been generated in the course of the embassy undertaking. Carbon-offset credit have been then bought to account for about 33 per cent of the emitted carbon.
Based in 1977, Miller Hull has an intensive portfolio of eco-friendly buildings equivalent to a Seattle analysis centre with exterior shading units and a net-positive constructing at Georgia Tech College that’s topped with a large photovoltaic cover.
Different US embassy tasks embody a “crystalline dice” in London designed by Kieran Timberlake and plans for an embassy in Bangkok that consists of irregularly stacked containers designed by SHoP Architects.
The pictures is by Gabe Border.
Design architect: The Miller Hull Partnership
Architect of file: Web page
Contractor: BL Harbert Worldwide
Consumer: US Division of State Bureau of Abroad Buildings Operations (OBO)