BEIRUT: Located in the suburbs of Aoukar approximately 16 km northeast of Beirut, the new 1 billion dollar U.S embassy is indicative of the western nation's "enduring friendship and important bilateral partnership" with Lebanon, Deputy Chief of Mission Edward White told Annahar.
During a luncheon at his residence Thursday, which brought together a number of local architects including the leading Morphosis team members tasked with constructing this massive project, White reiterated that the U.S would stand alongside Lebanon for years to come.
The state-of-the-art complex, designed by Morphosis Architects with Arne Emerson at the helm, will cover an area of 44.3 acres juxtaposed to the current embassy and is set to be completed by 2023.
"The project is defined by an intersection between landscape and urban planning," Emerson said.
The multi-building complex is set to include a Chancery, a Marine security guard residence, a housing complex, as well as support and community spaces.
The design draws on local building techniques to "incorporate Lebanese values", using hillside planning that integrates architecture with the available landscape to inform security, function, and performance.
After the Vatican signed off on the venture, given that the land was previously owned by the Catholic Church, construction of the grandiose scheme began in 2017 with the aim of "supporting the U.S diplomatic mission."
It is expected to house between 400 and 600 residents, including marines, diplomats, and workers, with Emerson steadfast in his goal to achieve safety, efficiency, and an environmentally sustainable structure.
"We want to be good neighbors," Emerson said, maintaining that 25 percent of the entire complex will be powered by green energy, while the Chancery itself is expected to be a net zero building, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.
Taking advantage of the mild Mediterranean climate, natural lighting and airflow are used extensively to reduce energy usage and "improve the interior's ambiance."
Captured rainwater will also be used for irrigation, while wastewater will be treated in-house and re-integrated into the irrigation grid.
The endeavor is also emphasizing on using local products, mainly concrete which is found in abundance within Lebanon. Durable, locally sourced materials, such as sculpted pre-cast concrete, stone and metal panels are used to improve longevity and reduce the energy footprint during construction.
"This will be one of the most sustainable embassies in the world," Emerson said.
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