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U.S. Embassy in Türkiye as seen from the street

An embassy symbolizes the intersection of two cultures: the country it represents and the country it inhabits. In Ankara, Türkiye, the recently opened U.S. Embassy by New York firm Ennead Architects embeds this marriage into its design, honouring Türkiye’s historic architecture while reflecting the U.S. Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO)’s goals of sustainability, resiliency and stewardship. The resulting building solidifies the countries’ commitment to their partnership.

U.S. Embassy in Türkiye

Though Ennead is no stranger to designing works in the public realm, the embassy in Ankara marks the first of this typology in its portfolio. The firm is also working on the U.S. Embassy in Nassau and U.S. Consulates General in Nogales, Mexico; Chiang Mai, Thailand; and Lagos, Nigeria (which are all slated to open in the next few years). In each of these projects, the firm weaves together the institution’s mission, site context and culture to create a “compelling architectural expression.”

U.S. Embassy in Türkiye as seen from above

“At the core of Ennead Architects’ work on this project is that it is specific to its location and emphasizes the power of place, creating the perfect blend of mission and culture,” says Design Partner Richard Olcott. “Through our close study of local building techniques, construction materials and historic traditions, the U.S. Embassy in Türkiye serves as an inspiring, flexible and collaborative workplace that accommodates the needs of dedicated staff and visitors alike.”

U.S. Embassy in Türkiye as seen from entrance

Working with local firm Emre Arolat Architecture, Ennead drew inspiration from Türkiye’s rich material history and vernacular architecture — in particular, traditional courtyard designs that merge architecture and landscape elements into a unified form. To that end, the architects conceived of a series of courtyards that gently rise up the steeply sloped 3.6-hectare site to create an accessible and easy-to-navigate space.

U.S. Embassy in Türkiye

The embassy is located in Ankara’s new central business district, Sögütözü. Set back from the street, an arrival plaza at the entrance to the complex serves as the first courtyard in the sequence, blurring the boundary between the embassy and the city. Inside the gates, trees and lush plants bring greenery back to the streetscape and offer a place of respite within the urban realm.

Courtyard in front of white stone building facade

As is the case in many historically significant Turkish buildings, visitors make their way to the Chancery through a series of courtyards and gates, on a gently sloping path that weaves through the landscape designed by GGN. This design approach turns the journey into a thoughtfully curated experience, with clear sightlines that enhance wayfinding, while also eliminating the need for stairs and elevators. The courtyards offer comfortable outdoor spaces for large formal gatherings and more casual diplomatic exchange — and bring natural light into the massive building.

Courtyard with concrete screen facade

In addition to daylighting, several other sustainability measures were employed to reduce environmental impact and optimize performance, including highly insulated exterior walls, rainwater harvesting, climate-appropriate landscaping, efficient mechanical, electrical and lighting systems, and solar thermal water heating.

Outdoor space between concrete screen and glass building facade

While the design is resolutely contemporary, Ennead leveraged local, responsibly sourced materials to integrate the building into its context. These materials were not only selected for their aesthetic appeal but also for their high recycled content, durability and low embodied environmental impact.  

The building’s stone cladding recalls the history of masonry in Türkiye, while the Chancery’s façade comprises a high-performance concrete screen that reinterprets traditional vernacular. Balancing transparency and openness with security, the screen ensures access to daylight and views while maintaining the privacy needed in an institution such as this. An interstitial space between the screen and the curtain wall offers a space to connect with the surrounding landscape.

Staircase in front of grey stone wall

Marble, travertine, native wood, and local ceramics round out the building’s contextually inspired palette. Throughout the landscape, and the lobby designed by interior architects Spacesmith, site-specific works from OBO’s Office of Art in Embassies are displayed, including pieces in various media by both U.S. and local artists.

Lobby at the U.S. Embassy in Türkiye

Through this project, roughly $175 million USD has been invested in the local economy. A contemporary interpretation of Turkish design history, the civic-minded building represents a true partnership between nations.

In Türkiye, the U.S. Embassy Embraces Local Vernacular

Symbolizing the partnership between nations, Ennead Architects’ contextually attuned design reinterprets courtyards, screens, and regionally sourced materials.

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