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  • Design Excellence - It's Not Just Looks

    Posted by Ben Lilly, Director of International Federal Programs, & Stephen Butler, Embassy Program Design Manager

    Design excellence is not a new concept - it was a program originally initiated more than 50 years ago by President John Kennedy. The principles behind the Design Excellence philosophy are as relevant today as ever, but have been expanded to be more pertinent for the 21st century and now include security, sustainability, and flexibility. The Bureau of Overseas Building Operations' (OBO) mission is to provide safe, secure and functional facilities that represent the U.S. Government to the host nation and support the embassy staff in the achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives.

    As OBO advances Design Excellence, they continue to incorporate technologies and systems that are right-sized and appropriate for the region in which they perform - elements critical to the overall design's success. Design Excellence incorporates innovative yet practical considerations that take into account the site, climate, systems maintenance for the long haul, and the realities of construction no matter where in the world the facility is located. These considerations are a part of creating a facility that is not only robust in architecture, but also sustainable and eco-diplomatic.

    While the design solution will endeavor to provide the appropriate context in architecture and represent our culture to the host nation, it will also perform and serve its occupants and visitors securely and efficiently for many years.

    As a firm who has worked to support OBO and its missions for over three decades, we wholeheartedly support the principles of Design Excellence. It allows our team to be creative, incorporate sustainable design practices, and propose innovative solutions. We have worked for OBO in 150 countries and we know how important it is to create beautiful, as well as, safe and functional embassies in our host nations. 

    Category: Innovation