Significant, sustainable architecture evocative of simple West African structures
We were awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) to design a new embassy in Niamey, Niger, under the Excellence Initiative. This program ensures diplomatic facilities meet functional and security requirements of missions abroad while also demonstrating American values and ingenuity in architecture, engineering, technology, construction, sustainability, art and culture. Given OBO’s priority for moving staff into safer, more secure facilities, bridging documents were completed in just six months to minimize construction duration and disruption.
The multi-building campus is situated on an existing 10-acre embassy site and includes new buildings that replace aging structures with those that meet current security and life safety standards. A new 11,500 square meter Chancery was located, designed and phased to keep critical existing campus buildings in operation during construction, saving months of time and millions of dollars by avoiding temporary staff relocations. Site redevelopment encompasses new community and support facilities, additions to existing structures including the Marine Security Guard Residence, a new and more secure entry sequence, upgraded utilities and the addition of on-property staff parking.
Design strategies relate to local climate and regional context, with native landscape patterns woven throughout the site in structural and finish elements. Cues are taken from endemic regional forms and materials like sand, concrete, and red metal oxide primer; a series of screens and canopies evocative of traditionally used acacia limbs shield buildings from the intense West African sun. A large shaded exterior courtyard extends the gallery, an important community space in the building. Use of locally procured, established and familiar materials enhances long term sustainability.