The 12.4-acre site in the Arberi district of Pristina is surrounded by an eclectic mix of buildings ranging in height, materials, and uses. Envisioning a more cohesive future neighborhood, the regulating Kosovar agencies offered the U.S. Government the opportunity to use the site as an urban planning guide to be followed by developers on adjacent parcels.
In that spirit, the project aimed not only to present the U.S. Government’s diplomatic platform, but also to enhance its mission by providing a secure, sustainable, and technologically advanced example of American architecture, engineering, and urban design. The new Embassy provides a secure, modern, sustainable, and resilient platform for diplomacy and statecraft.
Design & Construction
The building meets the Department’s standards for security, life safety, and resiliency, and provides a modern office space for Embassy visitors and staff.
The new campus provides a presence in the cityscape of Pristina as a point of pride for both countries. The building siting takes advantage of views over the city center to the mountains and is open to natural daylight and warmth in colder months. A multi-functional pond that is part of the mechanical system provides a landscaped foreground for the complex.
The design includes indoor and outdoor representational spaces for public events. These spaces provide a connection between the interior and exterior, important in local community life.
The design includes local craft metal, prevalent in historic construction throughout Kosovo, while maintaining a contemporary appearance.
The landscape includes pedestrian-oriented plazas and courts and utilizes the natural topography while providing complete accessibility for pedestrians and separation from vehicular traffic.
Approximately 1,800 American, local, and other third party nationals were involved in construction of the project – investing 6 million work hours, contributing significantly to the local economy.
Resiliency & Stewardship
The project is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification, and is projected to receive LEED® Gold certification. This certification requires innovation in design, optimization of energy performance, and water and energy use reduction.
The design incorporates improved building envelope and glazing, external shading, reduced lighting power by use of LED lighting and daylighting controls and a heat recovery chiller that transfers waste heat to the building heating system. Cool and vegetated roofs reduce the building’s heat gain and need for air-conditioning.
The chilling and heating system utilizes a ground source heat exchange system composed of a pond loop and vertical well field of piles, which improves system efficiency relative to conventional heat rejection systems. Energy savings are projected at 38% with a total LEED energy cost savings of 31%.
The complex is expected to achieve net zero water usage by balancing its water demands with the supply generated on-site through efficient fixtures and irrigation systems, captured and stored rain water, and on-site waste water treatment and recycling water resources.
The permanent art collection, curated by the Office of Art in Embassies, encompasses twenty-five works in a variety of media – paint, clay, glass, steel, wood, and photography – created by both United States and Kosovar artists.
Installed throughout the public spaces of the building, the collection celebrates the cultural connections between Kosovo and the U.S. Highlights include Diana Al Hadid’s Untitled (Prizren Bridge), a massive, wall-mounted work that greets visitors as they enter the atrium. Made up of layered and seemingly dripping materials including fiberglass, polymer gypsum, plaster, and pigment, the work draws inspiration from the form and cultural significance of the iconic bridge in Prizren, Kosovo.
Margo Sawyer’s sculpture Synchronicity Spiral, made of hand-painted glass and standing nine feet tall and twenty feet in diameter, brings light, color, and a moment of contemplation to the embassy terrace. These works and the others in the collection are a testament to art’s ability to transform the relationship between an individual and a space, transcend language barriers, and build connections among peoples.