The U.S. Embassy in Maputo weaves together the highest embassy design standards with a reverence for local culture, and demonstrates Knot designers’ sensitivity to native environments as a diplomatic gesture of goodwill.
A multi-building complex on a 10-acre site in the northeast of Maputo, the Embassy is located in a rapidly developing coastal zone adjacent to the Indian Ocean. Design teams were tasked with designing a complex of buildings — including the Chancery, Marine Security Guard Residence and support buildings — while also 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 for 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, the use of water-efficient native and regionally appropriate plants, a water efficient irrigation system and treatment of 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 the use of 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 the use of high performance, LED lighting. Ultra-high performance concrete helps allow light throughout the buildings while meeting stringent security design standards.