When the United States government settled on design plans for a new embassy compound in Beijing, China, they were thrilled to choose a design that met security parameters and honored North American values, while preserving the integrity of Chinese culture and environment.
To ensure this outcome, Hinman did what it does best. They integrated. They inserted themselves into design teams and kept open dialogues with architects and engineers. If the rest of the team stayed late to solve a problem, Hinman stayed late, too.
Their contributions helped the leading architect, unfamiliar with embassy construction, add critical security features into the design. For instance, lily ponds flank two sides of the consular building. To onlookers, they are lovely and serene water features. For staff, they represent security--a moat stand-off that will buy precious time and defensive opportunity should it ever be needed.
To avoid building an unattractive and congested fortress, designers consulted with Hinman to choose facades and place buildings, creating a secure but open and lovely workplace for embassy personnel. As with all projects, Hinman used sustainable design elements to provide natural lighting, heat control and energy efficiency.
Built in 2008, the $434-million embassy is considered the largest State Department project to be built on foreign soil and incorporates a 500,000 square foot enclosed area that houses over 950 employees.