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US awards contracts for new embassies

US awards contracts for new embassies

The State Department said Tuesday it has awarded contracts worth more than $250 million to build new U.S. embassies in the capitals of Serbia and Liberia. It also has selected four American architectural firms to compete to design a new embassy in London.
The department said it would spend $117.1 million to construct a diplomatic compound in Belgrade on a 10-acre site purchased from the Serbian government in 2007 for $15.1 million. The project, including a chancery, support annex and Marine guard quarters to serve 400 staff, has been awarded to Framaco International, Inc. of Rye Brook, New York.
About $135.4 million was being spent to build an embassy in Monrovia on an 18-acre site acquired in 2008 on a long-term lease from the University of Liberia for $2.43 million in 2008. That project, similar in scope to the Belgrade one for 619 employees, was assigned to B.L. Harbert International, LLC of Birmingham, Alabama.
The existing embassies in both Serbia and Liberia are aging, with the facility in Belgrade having been built between 1936 and 1937. The embassy in Monrovia was constructed between 1963 and 1966.
The finalists to design a new embassy in London came from an initial group of 37 and nine semifinalists and include at least two companies whose principals have won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.
They are known for modernist and innovative designs and will be vying to design the embassy compound that will be built south of the River Thames in an area far less fashionable than tony Grosvenor Square where the mission now is.
"This diverse group of finalists will explore the symbolism of the embassy, its image and position in the cityscape of London," the department said in a statement. "Their goal is to create a building and site complex that has timeless quality and represents the United States appropriately in the United Kingdom."
U.S. officials have not discussed the cost of the new London embassy.
All four have won numerous architectural awards for work in the United States and abroad but perhaps the two best-known are New York-based Richard Meier and Partners, whose founder won the Pritzker Prize in 1984, and Santa Monica, California-based Morphosis Architects, whose co-founder Thom Mayne won the Pritzker in 2005.
The other two finalists are Kieran Timberlake of Philadelphia and PEI Cobb Freed and Partners of New York.
The State Department, particularly since the imposition of new security rules after the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, has often been criticized for commissioning bland, fortress-like buildings.
The finalists will present models of their designs to a jury in November.
By law, the lead designer for U.S. embassies must be an American firm with necessary security clearances, but it is allowed to bring on local partners.


Updated : 2021-04-14 19:20 GMT+08:00