The U.S. Embassy in Maputo weaves together the highest embassy design standards with a reverence for local culture. It demonstrates Knot designers’ sensitivity to native environments as a diplomatic gesture of goodwill.
A multi-building complex on a 10-acre site northeast of Maputo, the Embassy is located in a rapidly developing coastal zone adjacent to the Indian Ocean. The design team was tasked with designing a complex of buildings — including the Chancery, Marine Security Guard Residence, and support buildings — while meeting the Department of State’s standards for safety and security.
In essence, the Embassy had to be a secure, modern, and environmentally sustainable platform for U.S. Diplomacy. Paintings, photography, textile, and sculpture were used to provide a cultural bridge with the host country of Mozambique. Landscape design played a critical role in the new Embassy, with site amenities centered on connecting staff and visitors to Maputo’s natural beauty and culture. Sustainable features include coastal dune restoration, water-efficient native and regionally appropriate plants, a water-efficient irrigation system, and treated wastewater as the sole source for irrigation. Knot designers used local species from the coastal-inland biome to surround and protect the Embassy. Designers also called for using native grassland and forest species to enable a net-zero water use environment.
The project is designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification, maximizing natural lighting but eliminating glare, combined with using high-performance LED lighting. Ultra-high performance concrete helps allow light throughout the buildings while meeting stringent security design standards.