Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Embassy of the United States of America (1960-2018)

Embassy of the United States of America
Home to the Diplomatic Mission of the USA, from 1960-2018.
Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, has always held an odd fascination with me. Whether it is because of the area, or the history of the square, I do not know.

However, one of the most imposing, and I would say magnificent, buildings around the square, is the old Embassy of the United States of America, with its gilded bald eagle sitting on its roof. 

Now that the embassy has moved to Nine Elms, you can get quite close to the building and see it in all of its glory, before the developers move in.

Brief History

Grosvenor Square has been home to the Embassy of the United States of America since 1938, although it didn't move into the London Chancery Building until 1960.

Built in the late 1950s, and finished in 1960, the London Chancery Building was the largest American Embassy in Europe, and would be their home until 2018.

Designed by Eero Saarinen, the building has nine floors, three of which are below ground.

The gilded bald eagle, that sits atop the building, was designed by Theodore Roszak and has an 11 metre wingspan.

Following the September 11, 2001, attacks security was dramatically increased at the embassy. The road outside the embassy was closed to public access by car, while armed roadblocks were stationed outside the building, too.

In front of the building stand two statues, Ronald Reagan and Dwight D. Eisenhower, plus a piece of the Berlin Wall.

The building was granted Grade II listed status in October 2009.

As of January 2018, the Embassy of the United States of America is now located in Nine Elms, near Battersea Power Station.

Qatari Diar purchased the Grosvenor Square building and plan to turn it into a luxury hotel, with around 137 hotel rooms, bars, shops and restaurants.

Grosvenor Square, itself, is set to be revamped and restored to its former glory, too.

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