The new American Embassy in Wassenaar, a municipality bordering The Hague, will provide a secure, modern and environmentally sustainable stage for U.S. diplomacy in the Netherlands. Thornton Tomasetti provided structural design and blast-engineering services for the 10-acre complex, which comprises a three-story Chancery Office building, a support annex, a U.S. Marine Security Guard Residence, a utility building, and two access pavilions.
While the buildings are distinctly American in character, their design reflects Dutch sensibilities, including the use of brick in their façades, decorative metal panels and white granite at the Chancery entrance. Their structural systems, designed to meet both American and Dutch building codes, consist primarily of cast-in-place concrete, with the exception of the main access pavilion, which has a steel-framed roof that floats above the structure. All of the buildings and perimeter anti-ram elements are supported on driven precast piles.
While each building is designed to resist gravity and wind loads, the Chancery, Marine Guard quarters, and a portion of the support annex will also resist progressive collapse and blast loads on their structural framing.
A network of canals controls groundwater on the site, which has an extremely high water table and experiences abundant rainfall. The canal walls and freestanding canopy structures will be supported on spread footings.
The facility will meet all current Department of State security standards and, in compliance with OBO sustainability criteria, is designed to achieve LEED Silver certification.