ETFE façade for the US Embassy in London

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2019/03/01
Competed in January 2018, the US Embassy in London is clad with a high-performance ETFE façade, which was engineered, fabricated and installed by Birdair Inc. and Taiyo Europe GmbH.

The US Embassy was relocated from the western side of Grosvenor Square in the Mayfair area to the new site in Nine Elms, due to security concerns and the lack of thereof. The new building, designed by Kieran Timberlake, aimed to balance its high-security standards with the feeling of openness to its visitors. The structure is a 65-meter high 12-story glass cube, overlooking the River Thames, and surrounded by a semi-circular pond. The building houses 800 staff and receives approximately 1,000 visitors daily.

The ETFE façades are shaped in a “sail” like form and are installed on three sides of the building; East, South, and West. A total of 399 sails cover an area of 8,125 square meters, supported by 180 tons of structural aluminum framing and 57 carbon steel “headmounts”. Unlike the typical installation of façade systems, this construction was challenging in that it required access via ropes. This was overcome through the workmanship and coordination of the installing workers. The ETFE façade limits excessive solar gain and glare while allowing uniform distribution of natural light. The transparent façade gives it the appearance of shifting color according to the weather and the position of the sun.

Birdair Inc. and Taiyo Europe GmbH. worked with engineering firm ARUP, and general contractor B.L. HARBERT INTERNATIONAL & Sir Robert McAlpine to complete the ETFE element of the structure.

The US Embassy was opened to the public in January 2018.

 
 
 
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