U.S. Embassy in Ireland
John M. Johansen, Executive Architect: Michael Scott
Concrete by reinforcement
Concrete is a relatively brittle material that is strong in compression but less so in tension.
To increase its overall strength, steel rods, wires, mesh or cables may be embedded in concrete before it sets. This reinforcement, often known as rebar, resists tensile forces. By forming a strong bond, the two materials are able to resist a variety of applied forces, effectively acting as a single structural element .
PRECAST ON SITE:
In larger and more complex construction projects, a concrete production plant may be installed on the construction site or nearby. The precast elements are moved into place once they have reached their maximum strength. This reduces transportation costs and ensures the concrete will set in the same environmental conditions as the building site. This may be more necessary with structures that combine cast-in-place concrete with prefabricated elements.
PRECAST IN FACTORY, WORKSHOP:
Any concrete element can be manufactured ahead of time and transported to the site once it has set. In this case, the control over geometry, appearance, finish and strength can be as strict as necessary. It can also be ensured that the pieces will be exactly identical to one another.
Prefabricated elements can be of any type: from façade panels and pavements to decorative elements (such as cornices or capitals) and structural elements (columns, slabs, beams, etc.).
These elements may be part of a commercial catalog or specially designed for a specific project. A series of pieces may also be sold as a coordinated and interconnected system to build a complete structure or even an entire building.
One might argue that the behavior of any concrete structure using columns and beams is consistent with that of a three-dimensional mesh. In this case, however, we are referring mainly to unique structures, in which the expressiveness of the structure is also highlighted in the finishes.
State of Conservation
The building, dating from 1964, is a commanding cylindrical volume spanning five stories, only three of which sit above street level due to security reasons, which are central to the design. It is ringed by a circular moat around the perimeter, so that access is limited to two footbridges, like in a medieval castle. According to the architect, the design was inspired by ancestral Celtic archetypes mixed with old Irish buildings.
The complicated triangular site where the building is located does not affect the design of the building. In the words of the architect, John M. Johansen, the homogeneous, continuous façade made from prefabricated concrete elements is characterized by “turning its back on no one”. It is precisely these prefabricated modules from the façade, forming the building’s structure and its image at the same time, that give it its personality. This is achieved by using a single prefabricated concrete modular element, which is repeated, rotating alternately, 13 times on each floor, in a reference to the number of stars on the first American flag. The uniformity of the façade is consistent with the building’s use, a purely administrative and office-related program, since, unlike some other diplomatic headquarters, the ambassador’s residence is located elsewhere.
The interior is distinguished by the presence of a large atrium space, which empties out the center of the building, leaving only the perimeter ring for offices. To date, the usable space in the building has remained limited and there is talk of building a new diplomatic headquarters with more square footage and security features.
Elgin Road 42
Leinster (Province) , Dublin (County) D04 TP03 Dublin
Fundación DOCOMOMO Ibérico