Canadian Consulting Engineer

Building an embassy in Berlin

Smith Carter Engineers and Architects of Winnipeg is part of a team designing a new Canadian Embassy in Berlin. The city has seen so much building activity after its restoration as the capital city of...

June 1, 1999   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Smith Carter Engineers and Architects of Winnipeg is part of a team designing a new Canadian Embassy in Berlin. The city has seen so much building activity after its restoration as the capital city of combined East and West Germany, it has been described as one big construction zone.

Canada is building the new embassy in the new seat of power on the site of the old Berlin Wall on Leipziger Platz. Nearby are the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag.

Smith Carter is responsible for the structural, mechanical and electrical design development. Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg, Gagnon Letellier Cyr, and Vogel are architects.

Jim Yamashita at Smith Carter explains that the very strict environmental criteria in Germany are defining their design. Because the law requires that workers have access to natural light, the building will be narrow with a courtyard. From this it follows, he says, that it will have natural ventilation and operable windows.

From a structural viewpoint the challenges are dealing with the city’s very high water table and having to cantilever the building over a historic subway line.

The award of the $50 million project to the Smith Carter team was controversial as a committee of architects originally chose another design. The 13,000 m2 structure will open in 2001.


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