U.S. State Department announces winner for New U.S. Embassy in London, international press reacts



The U.S. State Department announced the winner of its competition to design the new embassy in London. The Morphosis design was not selected. Articles in the US and UK discuss the results below.

New U.S. Embassy in London Morphopedia Page
U.S. State Department Announcement

Posted: Mar 1st, 2010 / Last Edited: Mar 1st, 2010 Print

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  • Jonathan Glancey writes in the Guardian:

    The Guardian has learned that the only two British members of the seven-strong design jury "fought to the death" against their American counterparts in a failed bid to block a winning design which they argued was not world class and was unfit to represent the US in Britain. Lord Rogers, the architect of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and Lord Palumbo, the property developer and art collector, felt so strongly about the inadequacies of the winning design, they submitted a "minority report" setting out their case to the US state department in Washington, which commissioned the building.

    As Susman unveiled the designs of the Philidephia-based firm of Kieran Timberlake – a 12-storey cube clad in a blastproof glass and plastic façade – it emerged the British jurors believe the Obama administration should have selected a rival design by a Californian designer, Thom Mayne, who won the Pritzker Prize, architecture's version of the Nobel, in 2005. They were overruled by the five Americans on the panel, including former ambassador Clyde Taylor.

    Rogers and Palumbo are said to have thought the design was boring and "not good enough to represent one of the great nations in London", said sources familiar with the jury process. By contrast, they considered Mayne's design to be "touched by genius".

    Full Article


    Nicolai Ouroussoff, of the New York Times, writes:

    ...both Richard Meier and Thom Mayne of Morphosis turned in far more sophisticated designs. Mr. Meier’s, which breaks the building mass down into a Cubist composition of curves and planes, is one of his best in recent years; Mr. Mayne’s, a distorted horseshoe wrapped around a deconstructed version of the Capitol dome in Washington, packs the most symbolic punch. (If you want to dismiss them as “star architects,” be my guest, but the designs explain why they got their reputations.)

    Full Article


    Christopher Hawthorne, of the Los Angeles Times, writes:

    If conservative critics may find certain elements to dislike in the KieranTimberlake design, they would have positively howled over Mayne's design, which suggests not an embassy stoutly fortified against possible attack but one that already has absorbed some major blows. Still, I hope the State Department will allow his firm to publish the entire design in the coming days and not just the single rendering released Tuesday. It certainly says something about the way the selection process for embassies has evolved that Mayne's proposal -- the inspired, tightly wound work of an architect who has often used his buildings to advance a sharp critique of bureaucratic power -- made it to the final round.

    Full Article


  • Jonathan Glancey writes in the Guardian:

    The Guardian has learned that the only two British members of the seven-strong design jury "fought to the death" against their American counterparts in a failed bid to block a winning design which they argued was not world class and was unfit to represent the US in Britain. Lord Rogers, the architect of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and Lord Palumbo, the property developer and art collector, felt so strongly about the inadequacies of the winning design, they submitted a "minority report" setting out their case to the US state department in Washington, which commissioned the building.

    As Susman unveiled the designs of the Philidephia-based firm of Kieran Timberlake – a 12-storey cube clad in a blastproof glass and plastic façade – it emerged the British jurors believe the Obama administration should have selected a rival design by a Californian designer, Thom Mayne, who won the Pritzker Prize, architecture's version of the Nobel, in 2005. They were overruled by the five Americans on the panel, including former ambassador Clyde Taylor.

    Rogers and Palumbo are said to have thought the design was boring and "not good enough to represent one of the great nations in London", said sources familiar with the jury process. By contrast, they considered Mayne's design to be "touched by genius".

    Full Article


    Nicolai Ouroussoff, of the New York Times, writes:

    ...both Richard Meier and Thom Mayne of Morphosis turned in far more sophisticated designs. Mr. Meier’s, which breaks the building mass down into a Cubist composition of curves and planes, is one of his best in recent years; Mr. Mayne’s, a distorted horseshoe wrapped around a deconstructed version of the Capitol dome in Washington, packs the most symbolic punch. (If you want to dismiss them as “star architects,” be my guest, but the designs explain why they got their reputations.)

    Full Article


    Christopher Hawthorne, of the Los Angeles Times, writes:

    If conservative critics may find certain elements to dislike in the KieranTimberlake design, they would have positively howled over Mayne's design, which suggests not an embassy stoutly fortified against possible attack but one that already has absorbed some major blows. Still, I hope the State Department will allow his firm to publish the entire design in the coming days and not just the single rendering released Tuesday. It certainly says something about the way the selection process for embassies has evolved that Mayne's proposal -- the inspired, tightly wound work of an architect who has often used his buildings to advance a sharp critique of bureaucratic power -- made it to the final round.

    Full Article


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