U.S. Department of State, Overseas Buildings Operations


U.S. Embassy Compound, Rabat, Morocco

Rabat, Morocco

300,000 SF | 28,000 M2


The U.S. State Department needed to replace its outdated embassy in the capital city of Rabat, Morocco. Even with extensive retrofitting, the building could no longer adequately house the growing embassy staff or meet current security standards. Typically, new U.S. embassies conform to standard guidelines that call for specific security measures, large setbacks, substantial parking and a customary three-story chancery layout. However, this eight-acre site provided challenging, as it was two acres too small to accommodate the standard design.

The team used the non-conforming site as a creative catalyst to drive the embassy’s design. It took advantage of changes in topography to achieve a third story by incorporating a sunken courtyard. This innovative site-planning solution minimizes the building’s footprint, while maximizing the secure, amenity-rich floor area. The internal courtyard creates an attractive, self-contained gathering space, with ample seating, hardscapes, plantings and water features. Interior circulation areas adjacent to the courtyard bring in ample light and views to all three floors. While the courtyard offers a sense of privacy, the street side of the embassy evokes a sense of transparency. A large glass curtain wall gives a welcoming glimpse into the facility, with sightlines to an airy three-story gathering space known as The Gallery.