The program of this 2006 project is a 23,000 sq ft new residence including living spaces for the ambassador, staff quarters, and also representational spaces. The New Residence at the Swiss Embassy is located in Washington D.C, designed by Steven Holl Architects in collaboration with Rüssli Architekten AG. The main materials used are charcoal integral color concrete trimmed in local slate and sand-blasted structural glass planks.
This project is not only a private house but also a cultural gathering place where the self-image of a country and standards are measured. It is an awesome scheme that placed for the first time in the competition of ten Swiss-American team’s designs for the Washington D.C. residence of the Swiss Ambassador replacement.
The building sits on a hill with awesome views through the trees to the Washington monument in the distance. There is a diagonal line of overlapping spaces drawn through a plan of the cruciform courtyard, the conceptual starting point of the project. Ceremony spaces and official arrival spaces are connected along this line on the first level of the building and private living quarter functions can be found on the floor above.
The main materials for this new residence are charcoal integral color concrete. These materials are trimmed in local slate and sand-blasted structural glass planks.. This project is constructed according to the Swiss ‘Minergie Standard’ with passive solar energy that used for the south facades while the building roof is a ‘sedum’ green roof with PVC panels.
New walkways and trees are also added to clarify the existing natural landscape while an arrival square is defined by the residence’s plateau. This arrival square consists of an herb garden and a reception courtyard with sub-floor wiring flexibilities.
The New Residence at the Swiss Embassy Gallery
Photography: Steven Holl Architects