This new U.S. embassy is located near the Chari River in N’Djamena, Chad. This remote country is recognized as one of the poorest in the world. The region is the Sahel, the increasingly arid border of the Sahara desert. Its dry climate features extreme heat, relieved by heavy monsoon rains. Response to climate is a central theme in the design. The Chancery provides an oasis of greener, shaded courts, maintained by judicious use of recycled water. Sun-shading bris-soleil structures characterize the architecture, with monumental water-collecting canopies sheltering the entry court and café garden.
Exterior walls are concrete with an outer rain screen of fiber-cement panels. The limited material palette is intended to create a dignified and calm aesthetic, responsive to the harsh climate and modest context, while using a readily available, durable and pragmatic system for shipping and assembly. Colors and surface textures of the panels provide scale and detail.
The network of canopies provides shade and reduces site temperatures while mediating between building mass and surrounding landscape. The architecturally expressive horizontal and vertical sun control devices protect the interiors from direct sunlight and heat gain. These are organized into large-scale, multi story mashrabiya – the screened window boxes common to the Islamic world.
The architectural character of pierced screens continues inside the buildings at ceilings and feature walls. Color and pattern using concrete floor tiles and painted screens bring the culture of the Sahel into the modern, high-performance workplace.