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"Only the Chinese Embassy is Uglier"

Wow, the German press, incl. the pro-American Die Welt, is very critical of the US embassy, which was reopened on July 4th. Gregory Rodriguez writes in the Los Angeles Times:

The daily Süddeutsche Zeitung called it "Ft. Knox at the Brandenburg Gate." Der Tagesspiegel pronounced it a "triumph of banality." Particularly offended by the embassy's windows, the critic at the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung contended that they "look as if a bankrupt homeowner had bought them in a home-improvement store near Fargo in order to get his house ready for winter." Die Welt, meanwhile, stated simply that "only the Chinese Embassy is uglier."

While some Americans consider this criticism as part of the Anti-Americanism, I would like to point out that none of the German government buildings garned any approval from architectural critics, when they opened in Berlin. The chancellery is still called "the federal washing machine" by many Berliners. And the beautiful glass dome of the Reichstag was not appreciated in the beginning either.

More important than the architecture of the embassy is its outreach to the policy community, the media and the wider public. Many ambassadors are described as more active than the US ambassador.


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Joe Noory on :

The criticism is incredibly rich given that the only decent thing you can say about O.M. Ungers' German Embassy EMR design in Washington is that it aspires to the italian fascist movement styling of [url=,GGLJ:2006-33,GGLJ:en&q=Giuseppe+Terragni&um=1&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&resnum=1&ct=title]Giuseppe Terragni[/url], albeit not nearly as interesting, and something of a [url=]technical failure[/url]. A trained chimpanzee could have done a better job detailing the façade.

Kevin Sampson on :

So close it.

Joe Noory on :

The design was pecked to death in meetings with representatives of the Berlin and German Federal government for years. Why should we close it? For the sake of a handful of local critics with no stake and a reflexive bias against anything American?

John in Michigan, USA on :

Our State Department is stuck fighting the Cold War and still hasn't come to terms with Vietnam. I see little hope for them, short of massive reform. Colin Powell at least started to do this. Dr. Rice is not following through. Yes, the State Department...only the CIA is uglier!

Pamela on :

The place is bloody hideous. Someone please blow it up.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

I spent my lunch break at Pariser Platz today, where you have the French and US embassy as as some banks (i.e. the embassy of the evil multinationals) and Starbucks, Dunking Donuts, Haegan Dazs etc. Yeah, pretty posh place for Dunkin Donuts. Anyway, there was this tour guide making first some lame joke about Starbucks being the US embassy. Yawn. But then he got more interesting: He was talking about the bloody German-French history and commented on the architecture of the French embassy: It looks as if the French are getting ready for the next war. See the tiny windows on the first floor, where they put their rifles in: [url][/url] So compared to the French embassy, the US embassy does not look so bad.

Joe Noory on :

It isn't quite what it could be, but it isn't that bad. OBO went with a design that won't quickly look dated. Several years ago I worked for a firm that submitted a much funkier idea in the design competition, but didn't make it through. Schade. It would have been a fairly cool green copper form with dramatic timber features.

Joerg on :

As funky as the British embassy in Berlin? That really stands for cool Britannia, but apparently the Queen was not amused at the opening...

Joe Noory on :

Yes, about that good a quality of a design. The UK mission building is extremely cool. That's a technical term, by the way.

franchie on :

yes, kinda a ligne Maginot :lol: though Christian de Porzampac had better looking realisations in Paris, where he managed to deal an equilibrium with the traditional environnement buildings I suppose that there the country wanted to place a "Name", CdP is one of our world wide knowns, Jean Nouvel wouldn't have been appropriated, his buildings are not ment to resist to a terrorist attack

Pat Patterson on :

Most US embassies and consulates have to serve as office space and FOBs. Maybe a thousand years from now they will all look picturesque when the necessity for blast walls and gun ports become passe.

Joerg on :

They could use other buildings in cheaper areas for office space

Joe Noory on :

I've did FBO/OBO work for years. In my experience, they wouldn't do that if they can help it. It's a hard way to work. The only exception would be to place all of the facilities welcoming the public in one area and the chancery and support in another. Their preference if they can't have a property where a bunch of smaller structures can be altered, added, removed, etc., is to consolodate them into one recognizable facility. I really wish they would do something with Amerikahaus near the Ku'damm for historical reasons, but I'm not sure it's big enough to be useful as a cultural facility. The old embassy/former DDR mission shoulf just get sold off.

Pat Patterson on :

Not only being less efficient but a security nightmare! The Marines of the Embassy Guard are good but they cannot be in two or three places at the same time. Even though they sometimes claim they can be!

It's Sony on :

"Prussian people are superior than any others" Adolf Hitler said. I know most Germany people dislike Hitler now. but honestly speaking they share the same dream with that lunatic . Their pity arrogance explodes with their ignorance.

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