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Embassy of Australia Construction Update

Rendered image of Embassy of Australia
22 August 2020

Embassy of Australia Construction Update

Construction Timeline

Latest update: 21 August 2020
Clark Construction is constructing a new, state-of-the-art chancery for the Australian Embassy, replacing the existing building at its current site on Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Washington, DC. Crews have completed the above-grade demolition of the existing Embassy structure and are currently working on the excavation and removal of the below-grade structure.

Approximate Excavation Timeline
Existing Building Rubble Excavation: anticipated completion early September
Break/Excavate Existing Building Footings: early September to end of September
Excavate for Lowest Level of New Structure: end of September to late October

Excavation crews are currently utilising hoe ram attachments on excavators to break up larger rubble to allow for removal from the site. Following completion of this work, they will break apart and excavate the existing building footings. Clark anticipates this work will continue for the next four to five weeks, after which will begin excavating for the lowest level of the new structure. Should we encounter rock during this activity, Clark will use hoe ram attachments to break it apart. Clark expects that the noise from these operations will diminish some as crews move deeper into the excavation. Barring weather or equipment delays, we anticipate the excavation activity to be complete around the end of October. 

During the final phase of excavation (late September through late October), Clark will commence work on the new Embassy structure. A tower crane will be installed during this time to support concrete operations. 

Your continued patience during what we know is a challenging time has enabled us to move this project forward in the safest and most efficient manner possible. Thank you!

Pedestrian Traffic Flow
The 16th Street sidewalk has re-opened. Clark anticipates closing this sidewalk again in mid-September to allow for the installation of a tower crane and initial concrete pours through the end of October. During this phase of work, pedestrians will be routed to cross 16th Street NW at P Street NW, or down O Street NW to continue West of 16th Street NW. 

Vehicle Traffic Flow
With excavation underway, an increased number of trucks are now entering and exiting the site. Truck drivers will stage in the western most lane of the 16th Street access road and be flagged into and out of the site via Massachusetts Avenue. 

Clark Construction has established a dedicated email address to provide neighbours a point of contact for questions or concerns about the project: australianembassyneighborhoodrelations@clarkconstruction.com. Clark remains committed to responding to all enquiries in a timely manner.

Download Clark Construction Update (PDF) - dated 21 August 2020.

The New Embassy

The new embassy will showcase the very best in Australian design, materials and architectural excellence, thanks to the innovative design by prominent Australian architectural studio, Bates Smart, who also designed the current embassy building over half a century ago. It will promote an enduring vision of a contemporary and innovative Australia, while paying tribute to the unique Australian landscape. The design embodies the spirit of Australia through direct references to its distinctive geography, with bright and clear natural light and open skies, warm materiality, and vast scale — creating a symbol of Australia that is both welcoming and enduring. The new building includes an expansive glass atrium and a large open public space looking towards another of Washington’s historic structures, the White House, with an exhibition gallery and function spaces.

Innovative environmental design solutions will be used throughout the building, with the construction of the new embassy being formally registered with a Green Star rating. To achieve this Green Star rating, innovative design solutions will be utilised, including a thermally efficient façade, a green roof with an extensive photovoltaic array, expansive use of natural light and the latest building services technologies. The environmental focus of the new embassy demonstrates Australia’s global leadership in sustainable design, construction and products.

The decision to construct a new embassy in the heart of the Washington diplomatic precinct reinforces the strength of Australia’s relationship with the United States — our mateship — and our commitment to our most important economic, security and political partner.