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United States Embassy, Berlin

United States Embassy, Berlin

This competition-winning design for the U.S. Embassy in Berlin adds a well-mannered statement of American presence and partnership to a context that is both potently historic and recently rebuilt. The building serves simultaneously as supportive urban framework and companion for the nearby Brandenburg Gate, occupying a focal position at the symbolic and political center of the reunified Germany.

Entry sequences through the main lobby on Pariser Platz meet strictly-prescribed security criteria, yet are made more gracious: a glass-roofed rotunda offers the experience of an open courtyard. The grand cylindrical niche in the north-facing limestone façade allows direct and reflected sunlight to break through to the flag hanging just over the front door.

With a narrow building section wrapped around a spacious courtyard garden, the workplace is everywhere enhanced by proximity to light and views of landscape. The Embassy features green rooftops, using plant materials native to the American continent, giving the Embassy a green narrative, and linking the site to the grand context of the Tiergarten. 

The glass lantern of the rooftop State Room presents a compelling image of democratic ideals, and provides a venue for luncheons and other high-level receptions, with spectacular views of the Reichstag and the new government center. Using only soft interior lighting at night, the lantern joins the Reichstag’s dome and the Quadriga sculpture on the Brandenburg Gate as part of the civic district’s collection of skyline landmarks.

Associate Architect: Gruen Associates
Photography: Werner Huthmacher