House for Sweden
by Christine Killory and René Davids
The 70,000-square-foot (6,500-square-meter) building for the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C., is set on a narrow peninsula at the confluence of Rock Creek and the Potomac River. Surrounded by water on three sides, the peninsula faces south and commands spectacular views up and down the Potomac.
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The prominent site called for an emblematic building through which the essence of Swedish culture, technology, design sensibility, and governance would be expressed.
The House of Sweden, designed by Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB, redefines the conventional typology of the embassy as fortified bunker by combining spaces for public and commercial activities with official functions behind broad glass facades.
The building consists of five floors and a rooftop terrace overlooking the river. The public areas on the first two floors include a lobby, exhibit hall, and a fully equipped event center with conference and meeting rooms. The Swedish Embassy is housed on levels two and three, and there are apartments on levels four and five.
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This article is excerpted from Detail in Process, edited by Christine Killory and René Davids, copyright © 2008, with permission of the publisher, Princeton Architectural Press.