The professional worlds of diplomacy and architecture combined forces to help cement positive relations between Nigeria and America, with the formal dedication at the start of November 2014 of the New Office Annex at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.
Co-existing with the main Embassy building on a 9-acre site, and boasting state of the art facilities as befitting a total project budget of $162 million, the New Office Annex is the work of American Architects.
The construction of the US Embassy’s new annexe was undertaken by B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, Alabama. They oversaw the design and construction of the Chancery and Attendant Facilities, as well as helping to secure the building from any external threats. This meant implementing both internal and external security measures, from the installation of both temporary and permanent perimeter fencing, to work involving classified computer networks and the necessary security controls.
However, this was very much an trans-continent workforce. Between the time construction of the annexe began in January 2012 and the project’s completion in October 2014, over 900 Nigerians were contracted to work alongside colleagues from other African nations, as well as those from America.
Conforming to the environmentally green friendly policies promoted by President Obama and fellow politicians across the world, the New Office Annex boasts numerous energy saving features.
These include roof top photovoltaic panels on the parking structure, LED lighting, window based light shelves, plumbing fixtures which help save water, and occupancy sensors.
Boasting stunning views of the mountains to the north, those seconded to work at the New Office Annexe can also savour the many green spaces which surround the building, which are home to locally sourced plants and greenery.
Back inside the annexe, the architects have opted for an open floor plan to encourage the natural light to span the rooms in which members of the diplomatic corps and their staff will carry out their daily work.
The New Office Annex in Abuja is just the latest in a long line of building projects undertaken by the U.S. Government. Since 1999, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (O.B.O) has completed no fewer than 118 new diplomatic facilities around the world.
As of November 2014, another 41 building projects are currently at the design stage or actively under construction.
The formal ceremony dedicating the New Office Annex in Abuja was attended by dignitaries including the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James F. Entwistle, U.S. Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, and local officials including Ambassador Usman Baraya, the Chief of Protocol for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,.
With the world facing increasingly dangerous times, this project in Abuja is a timely reminder of the significant role architecture can play in forging and maintaining strong bonds between countries, whether near or far.
Chronos Studeos sends heartfelt thanks to the media team at the U.S. Embassy for kindly allowing us access to the images seen on this page, and for the information provided.