Conceived during the summer of 2000, during Joel Aviles’ 4th year term in the school of architecture, the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica was a national student competition sponsored by the Clinton Administration in an attempt to explore on how the United States should represent itself (through its Embassy designs) abroad in different countries. So how should the U.S. Embassy be designed and what should they represent was the underlying question?

This scheme advocates the integration of nature and culture of the host country in the design of the 21st century U.S. Embassy.

The building’s organization is derived from the site’s natural tree organization and symbolic cultural vistas.  Using natural tree patterns and vistas of the site, became obvious the use of a horizontally-broken tree as the metaphor for its facade.  Looking the Embassy from the main street and entrance, the two to five story embassy is veiled by a wood siding and louvers (to allow views from inside spaces) skin, horizontally in composition, to naturally interconnect the Embassy to its place.

The design features a central reflective pool courtyard, floor to ceiling internal glazing (overlooking reflective pool and providing plenty of natural light), “floating” catwalks connecting various program functions, and “sculptural-like” access stairways acting like connectors and indicators of spatial organization.

This design thrives not only to create a building but to re-interpret nature within the context of its culture.  

© 2018 by Joel Aviles Architects LLC

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