New British Embassy
Christian Richters

New British Embassy

Tony Fretton Architects as Architects

Set in its own grounds facing onto Ulica Kawalerii on one side and a park on the other in an area of the city devoted to embassies, the building has a serene and formal quality. Its long form is centralized by an attic in an elementally neo-classical way and underlined by the longer figures of the walls and railings enclosing the site. The building is explicit in its conservation of energy; its glass elevations function as the outer skin of a double façade, which provides substantial thermal insulation in winter and relieves heat in the summer. The outer layer, delineated by pale bronze aluminium mullions and mirror glass reflects the sky and trees of the surrounding gardens. Behind this is a more substantial façade of windows set between solid piers and spandrels in a modulated composition of a similar palette.

The ground floor is reserved for public activities and features a large space for exhibition and events, and a café that opens onto the garden. Occupying the remainder of the ground floor is the area for Consular Section and UK Border Agency complete with a public waiting area accessed via its own entrance from a route through the grounds. The administrative offices of the Embassy are located on the first and second floor. With an acoustically absorbent ceiling, carpeted floor and double façade, the offices are places of calm efficiency. Public spaces in the ground floor flow from one to another and into the grounds. Open office space in the first floor is given a degree of separation by the interior courts.

The British Embassy

BuroHappold Engineering Ltd as Engineers

This 4,300m2 building houses all the offices required by the British Embassy, and its elegant neo-classical form is symbolic of the country it represents. On the ground floor, it is divided into two distinct areas; one for exhibitions, meetings, conferences and social events, and the other for the consular and UK border agency that, to maintain security levels, can be accessed from a private entrance. The first and second floor provide dedicated office space. Throughout this project, BuroHappold Engineering produced solutions that met our client’s requirements in an environmentally friendly way. These include the design of a double glass facade that ensures good insulation in winter and heat relief in summer, and also allows large amounts of natural light into internal spaces to promote the comfort and productivity of staff.

We used chilled beams to reduce mechanical noise levels throughout the building and also reduce running costs. An integrated management system was also incorporated within our business services strategy to control water and energy use, resulting in further savings for our client. In addition, our engineers remained mindful of the high safety and security requirements of an embassy that has extraterritorial status, ensuring all work complied with both British and Polish construction laws. The renovated British Embassy provides an excellent example of a building designed with both functionality and sustainability in mind, becoming the first building in Poland to be certified with a BREEAM Excellent rating.

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