The U.S. Embassy in Vientiane held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy Compound in Laos. Ambassador Karen B. Stewart presided at the occasion, accompanied by Mr. Phomma Khammanichanh, Director General of the Europe-America Department of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, in a confirmation of the strong ties between the two nations. Following local custom, the site of the future U.S. Embassy was blessed by monks from the neighboring Buddhist temple. A Cassia tree was planted to mark the celebration. Local village, district, city and central government officials attended the ceremony along with the U.S. Embassy community.
Situated on a seven-acre site, the multi-building complex will include a chancery, compound access points, and utility buildings. When completed, the new complex will provide embassy employees with a state-of-the-art workspace.
The new facility will incorporate numerous sustainable features, including lights that automatically dim to take advantage of daylight, low consumption water fixtures, rain gardens, and indigenous and adapted plant species for reduced irrigation demand. The facility’s design targets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Silver Certification by the Green Building Certification Institute.
The $109 million project will be constructed by B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, Alabama and Page Southerland Page of Arlington, Virginia is the architect of record. The New Embassy Compound (NEC) is scheduled to be completed in summer 2014.
Since 1999, as part of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has completed 89 new diplomatic facilities and has moved more than 27,000 people into safe, secure, and functional facilities. OBO has an additional 43 projects in design or construction, including the NEC in Vientiane.
OBO’s mission is to provide safe, secure and functional facilities that represent the U.S. Government to the host nation and support our staff in the achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives. These facilities should represent American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution. For further information, please contact Christine T. Foushee at FousheeCT@State.gov or (703) 875-4131, or visit www.state.gov/obo.