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Our Embassy in DC is moving in November

28 March 2019

This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Embassy of Australia on Scott Circle — a building that has come to represent the physical manifestation of the close relationship between Australia and the United States. As we celebrate this milestone of Australia’s diplomatic presence in Washington, it is also the last year we will spend in this building as it stands today. Near the end of the year, we will be turning off the lights of the Southern Cross in the atrium for the last time and moving into a temporary location at the historic National Geographic building on the corner of M and 17th streets in Northwest Washington, DC. The current building housing the embassy will be demolished and in its place, a new state-of-the-art embassy will be built — to be unveiled in 2022.

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.