U.S. Embassy, AfghanistanGreat Massoud Road
Design Achievement – DLR Group's design of the embassy compound in Kabul responds to security requirements while representing longstanding diplomatic ideals of the United States. A key security element is the separation of various functions, creating specialized zones within the compound, each with its own entrance. These are connected internally through pedestrian pathways and maintenance/delivery access roads. The office building is clad in stucco of vivid colors, purposely chosen to fade over a short period of time in the strong Kabul sunlight and sand storms. Embassy windows are generally small due to the expense of blast-proof glass and its unwieldy size and weight. The main façade of this embassy, however, features a three-story, 80-foot wide glass curtain wall that is backed by an opaque concrete wall, designed to withstand an explosion. Inspired by traditional Afghanistan carpets, the pattern is made of crisscross diamond shapes. The inner windows, which are also diamond-shaped, create an interesting pattern of their own on the inside face of the concrete wall. Three separate mid-rise structures built around a central courtyard contain apartments designed to be expanded from one-bedroom to two-bedroom units in anticipation of a time when families will live on the embassy campus. For security reasons, windows along the building perimeter are small punched openings in solid walls, while those facing the courtyard have large glass panels that allow natural light into the apartments.
Scope Summary – The new U.S. Embassy Compound occupies a 15-acre site, two miles from the city-center of Kabul. The program called for a new embassy office building, a residential complex of 146 apartments, Marine Security Guard quarters, warehouse, water and sewage treatment plants, new perimeter wall, and compound access control structures. DLR Group provided architectural design services.