British Embassy, Yemen

Design Engine Architects, Sana’a, 2006

 

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The box-like form is eroded at the north-west corner of the site to create a welcoming consular/visa entrance 

Peter Cook     Download Original

  • The box-like form is eroded at the north-west corner of the site to create a welcoming consular/visa entrance    
  • Approach    
  • The southern entrance. From this side the embassy reads as a single storey, since the lower floor is bedded in to the site    
  • Brise soleils clad the concrete shell    
  • The harsh but reassuring solidity of the concrete is tempered by the delicate brise soleil    
  • The building slots into the sloping site    
  • Entrance    
  • External walkway    
  • Overhanging roof canopies help alleviate the ‘bunker’ feel    
  • Exterior cladding    
  • View of surrounding countryside    
  • Concrete and brise soleil connection    
  • Night time view    
  • Exterior    
  • Detail of brise soleil    
  • The southern entrance. From this side the embassy reads as a single storey, since the lower floor is bedded in to the site    
  •  View through to the atrium. There is a strong sense of visual continuity despite the stringent security measures    
  • Daylit interior    
  •  The visa waiting room: a modern interpretation of Yemeni ‘qamariyyah’ windows brings coloured light into the building    
  • Site plan    
  • Lower ground floor plan    
  • Upper ground floor plan    
  • Section    
  • West elevation    
  • North elevation    
  • East elevation    
  • Underground labyrinth    
  • Construction    
  • Construction    
  • Construction    
  • Construction    
  • Construction    
  • Construction    
  • Construction    
  • Construction    
  • Construction    
  • Construction    
  • Construction    
  • Construction    
  • Construction    
  • Models exploring elemental composition of the embassy site    
  • Models exploring elemental composition of the embassy site    
  • Models exploring elemental composition of the embassy site    
  • Brise soleil    

British Embassy in Yemen constructed from reinforced concrete to the highest security standards

The site slopes 12m across its length, allowing public and VIP entrances at two different levels. Conceived by Design Engine Architects for client the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the structural form – a reinforced concrete box – was dictated by the brief’s security requirements.

The windows, along with engineered features such as the weathering-steel brise soleil and the canopies, aim to avoid a 'bunker' feel. Dense gravel underlies the site, so a shallow raft carries the loads to the substrata.

Sewage treatment also includes a clean water take-off stage which uses clean but non-potable water for irrigation. The relatively large swing in temperature between day and night is used to store heat in an underground concrete labyrinth.

Data

  • Begun: Mar 2005
  • Completed: Jan 2006
  • Floor area: 1,500m2
  • Sector: Civic
  • Total cost: £5.5M
  • Tender date: Oct 2004
  • Procurement: GC Works 1 with Quantities
  • Address: British Embassy, 938 Thaher Himiyar Street, East Ring Road, Sana’a, Yemen

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