Tai Soo Kim Partners, an architectural firm based out of Connecticut, designed the new U.S. Embassy building as a tribute to classical Tunisian construction, with a view to combining the best of Islamic architecture with the most modern materials and security elements.
Prior to beginning his proposal for the new building, Mr. Kim studied the Medina and its surroundings in order to capture the spirit of classical Tunisian design and incorporate Tunisian motifs into a U.S.-style workplace. The concept for the chancery is that of a mansion in a park. The building represents a fresh interpretation of Tunisian architecture; the internal organization of the building, around a series of courts, evokes that of traditional houses of the souk. Local stone and tile work pay homage to popular Tunisian colors and styles, while the building design itself employs traditional strategies for natural lighting and sun protection that have endured the test of time in the Tunisian climate.
The landscape concept for the embassy site is that of a park, using local self-sustaining plant materials. A landscaped garden, based on the geometric patterning of Islamic architecture, has been built across the middle of the site on the north-south axis. This provides a gracious arrival sequence to the compound as well as an inviting outdoor space for the embassy community and for visitors. Behind the main chancery, a series of olive tree groves have been planted to take advantage of the water retention ponds, a system of irrigation designed to maximize natural water collection.
In summary, the design carefully balances the desire for a building that is gracious, welcoming, and responsive to the distinctive architecture of Tunisia while still meeting the critical requirements for utility and security. The Embassy community thanks Mr. Tai Soo Kim and local architect Wassim Ben Mahmoud for the beautiful home they have designed for us.