Local culture, history and environmental patterns informed the Niger Embassy Compound’s environmentally-friendly landscape design.
Fractal Geometry- Macro and Micro
Tessellating Cut Stone Pattern at Main Entrance
Sand-hued Masonry Color Inspiration
For Knot, all design is local. And none more so than the new U.S. Embassy Compound in Niamey, Niger. With its arid climate and withering temperatures averaging in the 90s, Niamey’s U.S. Embassy Compound was a challenge for Knot’s team. Capturing the essence of Niamey through studying the Nigerian capital’s landscapes and ecology, Knot focused on a landscape design solution that drew ecological inspiration from the region’s sometimes harsh environment—located in a zone between the tropical West African coast and the Sahara Desert. The team’s design celebrates the beauty of the native landscape, and meets the requirement from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations to achieve the highest sustainability goals.
Knot’s design focuses on and takes cues from local culture, history, and environmental patterns. The 11-acre compound includes an administrative building, security guard residence, community facilities and additional support buildings. Designed to LEED Gold standards, the embassy compound is designed to treat all its wastewater to provide 87 percent of irrigation needs, and will have solar panels on a scale larger than any other U.S. embassy. A consular garden extends from the consular entrance near the center of the building. A grove of mature trees provides much needed shade, while bio systems capture rains that sometimes deluge the region.
Technical guidelines for all U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations embassy compounds create a clear path for building and landscape designs. A study of how people in the region have interacted with and manipulated the land gave insights that informed the design. The country’s high annual average temperatures, accompanied by periodic rain downpours and high winds, inspired a landscape design that is sustainable and provides protection for staff and visitors.
Knot’s contextual research of the culture, its climates, and ecological landscape led to selecting plants and trees in harmony with the sub-Saharan surroundings. Adaptation and scarcity are themes that define the local ecosystem. An understanding of spatial organization revealed in native tiger bush vegetation patterns inspired the site’s design and plant selection.