This was a student project by Zach Stewart for Curtis Roth's course ARCH 4410 in Autumn 2017.
Building an embassy in Mexico is by far one of the sensitive things facing the American government today and which is the issue this project wishes to tackle. With a president in power that has repeatedly provoked the Mexican people with talks of walls and slander, an embassy built today has an obligation to uphold civil relations between the two states. Designing an embassy that was transparent in its inner workings was of upmost importance. An embassy with a fresh typological language is needed. The secret inner workings of a typical US embassy are brought to the forefront and no secrets are allowed to be hidden by concrete and stone.
The current Mexican embassy has all the characteristics of an embassy of the United States’ past. The first move the new embassy takes to fight this is to break up the program into 5 distinct pieces. It does this by making cuts into the site that carve into the mass of the building. The cuts create exterior spaces for embassy program to be brought outside for the Mexican public to observe. The cuts also being to dictate civilian movement through the site and begin to control accessibility. In the front of the site, program pieces for public and private office functions and event functions are placed. In the back of the site, two masses for an ambassador's residence and military housing are placed. The 5 masses are each organized around a column that run vertically through the extents of the buildings. The program of each of the masses is wrapped around these columns with the more important spaces of each program piece occupying the column itself.
Inside the main building of the embassy, three of the program pieces (public offices, private offices, and event spaces) are brought together under one roof. Occasionally the three pieces connect allowing for movement and interaction between the various pieces of program, Public movement through the site is always controlled but sightlines are not, which allows visitors to experience all happening within the embassy.
The façade is a composition of American and Mexican textiles patterns overlapped over each other. The façade pattern increases and decreases in density to correspond with the program behind the screening. More public program such as the library will get a less dense façade treatment while as consulting offices in the consular will get a denser pattern.