ROYAL NORWEGIAN EMBASSY
Washington, DC, NW
STUDIOS Architecture (architect)
Embassy of Norway
LAB teamed with Studios Architecture for this invited competition to design a renovation for the Royal Norwegian Embassy located in Washington, D.C. The landscape scope involved a new entry for a renovated office building and an associated cultural space, updates to an existing streetscape, a roof terrace for office workers, and a large multi-use courtyard that also functioned as a “back yard” to the ambassador’s residence. The courtyard was intended to house day-to-day activities as well as outdoor parties and gatherings.
The team developed a comprehensive design concept orchestrating a series of indoor and outdoor spaces whose arrangement encouraged dialogue and engagement among users. Site elements employed a formal language and palette of materials that evoked the distinct geologic and botanical character of Norway, contrasting raw and rugged materiality against cleanly detailed architectural elements.
The site strategy hinged on a generous split-level pavilion located between the courtyard and streetscape which acted as the main entrance for the embassy complex and also contained a large space for gatherings and cultural events. With the entry at street level, a nearby elevator provided accessible vertical circulation, bypassing the need for an ADA-accessible ramp at the entrance and in turn creating ample space for an entry court and sculptural landscape. The pavilion opened to the courtyard, allowing users to flow freely between indoor and outdoor spaces during events and gatherings.