THE NEW CANADIAN EMBASSY IN BUCHAREST
Construction 2003- 2005
The embassy is located in a part of Bucharest known for elegant urban villas surrounded by gardens. The zoning regulations determine the limits of the building envelope above ground. As the resulting volume was insufficient to accommodate the building program, a considerable part of this program expands into an underground level covering the entire expanse of the site.
Clear separation of the public from the private functions was a key concern. In this project, the task was handled by placing the public and rather large immigration department below grade with a separate entrance from the street. The private, administrative and diplomatic functions are distributed above ground on three floors and a penthouse that is used for receptions and protocol.
Below grade access to the immigration department occursis via a double-glass corridor that protects the ceremonial entrance from the noise and agitation of Kiseleff Boulevard. Access to the main lobby is in the middle of the ceremonial plaza that is created between the glass link to the underground and the main volume of the building. The plaza allows direct vehicular access to the front door of the lobby for special events. The embassy’s cubic volume is flanked, at the north and south, by sunken gardens that allow natural light to the level below ground.
The building takes its cue from modernist Bucharest and expresses its function in simple form without a dominant façade. Different functions are marked on the elevation and throughout the interior with intentional gestures that articulate the program. The double-height hall on the west side is crossed by a glass catwalk leading to the library above. In turn, the library space is marked by a horizontal glass that is slit into the self-weathering copper of the façade. The distinct ceremonial role of the penthouse is marked by large windows and a terrace topped off by a slim overhanging roof. The south façade is clad with glass louvers that relieve the opacity of the copper enclosures on the rest of the building.