Unstraightening the State Embassy

The new Belgian Embassy in Belgravia, London will adopt a free programme for the public areas of the building.

 

The ground floor provides reception, gallery, cafe, library and waiting areas. Levels 1 and 2 includes a circulation walkway with breakout spaces for meetings and discussions between embassy staff and the public. This space is multipurpose. It can also be used for evening events and social gatherings. A double height events room provides space for music recitals, conferences, launches and large banquets. A private ambassadorial residence at level 3 also provides space for smaller official gatherings. A setback level 4 penthouse suite accommodates the private residence of the ambassador’s family. Embassy offices occupy the front of the building.

The exterior facade of the building is contextual and minimalist in design. The interior courtyard facade is complex and deconstructed.

 

The juxtaposition of contrasting facade strategies creates a rich formal dynamic. Movement from the outside to the inside is a memorable interchange, with the difference being tangible and severe.

(Y4 MArch, University of East London, 2016)