United States Embassy, Helsinki
The United States Embassy campus in Finland sits on a three acre site south of downtown Helsinki in a historically significant, leafy neighborhood with spectacular views of the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea. Cruise ships and local passenger ferries pass by on a regular basis.
The two existing buildings on the site both date from the early 1900’s and have fallen into a state of disrepair. The aim of the project is to bring all embassy departments up to contemporary standards for sustainability and workplace functionality. This required substantial interior remodeling as well as a new wing to house the most restricted, often windowless spaces.
The lyrical shape of the new wing is the result of austere requirements: a 100-foot set back from the irregular shape of the property line produced a small curved 45-foot wide footprint near the center of the site which would be available for new construction. Additionally, in combination with a zoning envelope that limited building height to about 3 stories, this requirement seemingly preordained the 30,000 SF size and curved shape of the new addition. The addition is linked by a tall glass-enclosed lobby to the remodeled Annex Building, which houses more public functions.