The UAE Embassy Gets a Redesign
The United Arab Emirates Embassy needed a refresh and called on a local firm to do the job. D.C.-based multidisciplinary firm, ACG Architects, was recently tapped to renovate and expand a vacant, century-old Ambassador’s residence on Massachusetts Avenue. Embassy staff will use this reworked building for typical day-to-day operations including hosting meetings and conferences and it will also act as a Majlis gathering space. Additionally, the building will serve as a center for students who come to the U.S. from the UAE.
The team faced several construction challenges in delivering this diplomatic and culturally sensitive project, including:
- Historic Preservation: The project is located within the Massachusetts Avenue Historic District required everything on the exterior be restored as faithfully as possible to its original 1912 condition. The building was also restructured and re-leveled to include parking and the interior space was reconfigured into a modern and open floor plan to increase functionality.
- LEED Gold Rating sustainability goal: Numerous initiatives were taken to achieve this rating including low-flow plumbing and irrigation systems, high recycled content building materials and a construction waste recycling program. Additionally the space was daylighted with light from the windows, FSC sourced wood was used throughout and a High SRI/Green Roof system was installed.
- Environmental Factors: The building’s restoration was complicated by differential settlement issues caused by voids and fissures in the soils along Rock Creek Park. This had caused significant cracking in the existing masonry walls and contributed to the unleveling the floors by more than four inches.