Posts tagged with "U.S. Department of State":

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U.S. State Department releases final list of designers for worldwide embassies

Capping a search for new designers for the U.S. Department of State’s newest worldwide embassies, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), responsible for constructing and maintaining embassies, has chosen 16 firms to provide design and engineering services for U.S. facilities around the world. The winning offices are expected to provide not only new construction services, but also to renovate existing buildings. The selection process for the Worldwide Design Services Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) began with 136 initial submissions, where firms were asked to provide a package detailing their approach and design capabilities. A 26 studio shortlist was released next, and competitors were invited to provide technical qualification documents and information on completed projects, followed by in-person interviews with the OBO selection committee. After winnowing the field down, the OBO’s final selection contains some surprises, with a healthy mix of larger and smaller studios from all over the country. See the full list of winners below: Mark Cavagnero Associates SHoP Architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro Krueck & Sexton Architects Ennead Architects Richard + Bauer Architecture Morphosis Architects Robert A.M. Stern Architects Kieran Timberlake Marlon Blackwell Architects 1100 Architect Allied Works Architecture Ann Beha Architects Studio Ma The Miller Hull Partnership Machado and Silvetti Associates According to the OBO’s announcement, “The final 16 selected firms presented the most highly qualified technical teams and demonstrated exemplary past performance, strong management and project delivery experience, a well-defined approach to public architecture, and a commitment to sustainability and integrated design.” While U.S. embassies have traditionally been thought of as fortresses disconnected from the urban fabric, newer iterations of the facilities have embraced a more holistic approach, one that doesn’t shun the surrounding city. The OBO has 285 facilities around the world, with $7 billion in projects currently under construction and in the pipeline.
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U.S. Department of State shortlists 26 firms to build embassies worldwide

A division of the U.S. Department of State in charge of constructing and maintaining embassies has selected more than two dozen architecture firms to design those facilities worldwide. Late last month, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) picked 26 firms for its Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Worldwide Design Services solicitation, a shortlist that's geographically diverse and includes a healthy mix of small-to-medium–sized firms (Marlon Blackwell, 1100 ArchitectLake|Flato) plus giants like Gensler and HOK

This time around, 136 firms vied for a spot on OBO's list, and the chosen designers are authorized to provide architecture and engineering services for building upgrades as well as new construction. Take a look at the full list, below: 1100 Architect Allied Works Architecture Ann Beha Architects Beyer Blinder Belle Architects Brooks + Scarpa Architects Clark Nexsen Diller Scofidio + Renfro Ennead Architects EYP, Inc. Gensler/Black & Veatch HOK International KieranTimberlake Krueck & Sexton Architects Lake|Flato Architects Machado and Silvetti Associates Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects Mark Cavagnero Associates Marlon Blackwell Architects Miller Hull Partnership Moore Ruble Yudell Morphosis Architects Richard + Bauer Architecture Robert A.M. Stern Architects SHoP Architects Studio MA ZGF Architects Next, shortlisted firms will have to put together a technical team, assemble information about past projects and team performance, and interview with OBO. Right now, the bureau's portfolio includes 285 missions around the world, with projects under construction and in design worth more than $7 billion.
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Why hasn’t the U.S. Department of State announced the U.S. Pavilion for the Venice Architecture Biennale?

When is the U.S. Department of State going to announce the commissioners of the 2018 American pavilion for the Venice Biennale of Architecture? It’s full year away from opening but, in fact, it's getting late in the process to create, fund, and install the exhibition. The American pavilion was for many years (the Biennale of Architecture began in the 1970s) a casual affair and officials would sometimes wait until last minute and simply call Philip Johnson and ask him for a theme—and to help fund the pavilion. In 2008, the State Department, the federal agency that organizes and partially funds the pavilion, began to systematize the pavilion's creation by implementing a traditional RFP process to select a theme and curators. The Department asked the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to organize a jury of peers to select the pavilion for Venice and, it was hoped, other national art and architecture exhibitions like Istanbul and Cairo. This has been the system since 2008 and has helped make the process more democratic and easier to organize. But what is up with the State Department announcement for 2018? We understand that the exhibition has been funded (by both the State Department and the NEA) and the NEA has passed on their recommendation of the top two applications. However, the deputy secretary at the State Department seems to be sitting on the announcement? One source claims that at least one of the finalists has been told they are in the running and the non-finalists informed (there were apparently a record number of recommendations this year) but at least one of the groups that submitted a proposal has not been contacted. Is this inaction a result of the Trumpian incompetence that we hear is spreading all over Washington or is there is simply no interest in having a pavilion at Venice in 2018?
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Morphosis Selected To Design New U.S. Embassy in Beirut

Three years after an unsuccessful bid for a chance to design the U.S. Embassy in London, Morphosis Architects has won a different Department of State project: a new Embassy for Beirut, Lebanon. The firm was selected from a shortlist that also included Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Mack Scogin Merrill Elam/AECOM. The new Embassy will be located near the current facilities in Awkar, roughly seven miles from Beirut. The Embassy moved away from the capital in 1983, following a suicide bomb attack that killed 49 Embassy staff. A second bombing in 1984 killed 11. Restrictions on American travel to Lebanon were not lifted until 1997, seven years after the official end of the Lebanese civil war. U.S. Department of State spokesperson Christine Foushee said that while the history of the Embassy in Beirut is unique, the security requirements of the new building will not differ significantly from other Embassy projects. Every major project built by the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations (OBO) must meet certain security standards in order to qualify for funding from Congress, she explained. The OBO put out a public call for submissions as part of its Excellence in Diplomatic Facilities initiative. “All of the designers that were short-listed, we feel, are very capable of incorporating [security] requirements,” Foushee said. “The real challenge, and the place where we were looking for innovation and creativity, was ensuring that the security requirements were met, but were integrated seamlessly into the design.” After seeing Morphosis’s proposal, the selection committee was confident that the firm would design a secure Embassy that “doesn’t look like a fortress,” she explained. The firm’s commitment to sustainability also impressed the OBO committee. According to Foushee, sustainable design, including planning for storm water and waste water management, is especially important in a project, like the new Embassy, that includes a housing component. Morphosis furthermore demonstrated an understanding of the OBO’s need for flexible interiors. “We have a need for sometimes accommodating a quick surge in staff,” Foushee said. An adaptable design will allow the Embassy to provide housing and office space for extra employees without additional construction. Finally, the design selection committee appreciated Morphosis’ experience working with technologies including 3D modeling. Integrating technology into the design process “is important for controlling costs, but also ensuring the quality of the project,” Foushee said. The design contract for the Beirut Embassy will be awarded during FY 2014, either before the new year or at the start of the 2014 calendar year, Foushee said. The construction contract will be awarded during FY 2016.