U.S. Embassy

Last week I was in Ottawa for a family funeral, staying in a hotel down the street from the U.S. embassy. The embassy, which succeeds a beautiful building designed by Cass Gilbert in the 1930s, was designed in 1999 by SOM in its post-modernist mode; limestone and stainless steel, neither modern nor really traditional. What struck me was the security barrier that was being built around the building—it looked strong enough to stop a Sherman tank. But this is Ottawa’s ByWard Market, not the Green Zone! Embassies are supposed to stand for national values; this one looks both forbidding and craven.

U.S. Embassy, Ottawa

One Response to U.S. Embassy

  • george holt says:

    Buildings that represented the United States abroad were once designed to evoke feelings of democracy and splendour .
    This building, while not particularly attractive or unattractive, could easily be mistaken for the suburban corporate headquarters of a small pharmaceutical company.
    If I didn’t know otherwise, the idea that this structure served a any kind of public purpose whatsoever would have never crossed my mind.
    The fact that this is actually an Embassy of the United States would have been my last guess.

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