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Old February 4th, 2008, 06:23 PM   #1
hkskyline
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Berlin's New American Embassy

Berlin embassy to show "warmer, fuzzier" U.S.


Photo Source : http://germany.usembassy.gov/

BERLIN, Jan 31 (Reuters) - A new U.S. embassy that sits next to the Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin will show off America's "warmer, friendlier, fuzzier" side, U.S. Ambassador William R. Timken said on Thursday.

Designed by California architects Moore Ruble Yudell at a cost of $130 million, the embassy is due to open this spring and will be celebrated with two days of festivities in the Pariser Platz square starting on July 4.

Its planning was dogged by controversy as U.S. officials demanded Berlin shift two major streets in the city centre away from the embassy for security. They reached a compromise in 2000 and construction began just over three years ago.

Unlike many other U.S. embassies around the world, the new building in Berlin does not sit behind tall barricades but is relatively exposed on one of the German capital's most visited squares -- a symbol, Timken said, of the close German-American relationship.

"We could have built an embassy out in the woods at half the cost and twice the security," Timken told reporters. "We are here as a symbol of our desire to be a partner to Germany ... It's going to be a warmer, friendlier, fuzzier America."

Relations between the United States and Germany grew more strained than at any time since World War Two when former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder came out strongly against the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

But his successor Angela Merkel has worked hard to repair ties and German officials are hoping to lure U.S. President George W. Bush to Berlin for the grand opening of the embassy on U.S. Independence Day.

The embassy is across the street from Berlin's new Holocaust memorial and within metres of where the Berlin Wall once stood. The French and British embassies are also around Pariser Platz, a former border zone between East and West Berlin.

The United States acquired a palace on the same site in 1931 with the intention of turning it into an embassy, but World War Two broke out before it was functional and the heavily-bombed building was demolished by the East German government in 1957.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 08:53 PM   #2
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....ok
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Old February 5th, 2008, 08:18 AM   #3
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To give some context, many countries are building new embassies in Berlin, and Berlin itself has been transformed with many expensive and large-scale rebuilding projects to reinforce its status as the German capital. Although the spending has been criticized for bankrupting the city, the American embassy is one of many great buildings coming up in the city, although the American taxpayer should be footing this one's bill.
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Old February 29th, 2008, 03:06 AM   #4
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I hope they deliver on their promise to be good neighbours. The U.S. embassy in London behaves appallingly, with totally excessive security demands that just make Americans look cowardly, making life a misery in one of the most prestigious districts of London. If I was the PM, I'd tell the American diplomats to either accept the same risks as everyone else in London, or move the embassy to a U.S. Navy ship out at sea.
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Old February 29th, 2008, 03:44 AM   #5
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Warmer, Fuzzier U.S. embassy? Whats it going to look like--Pee Wees Playhouse?

Seriously, with the amount of people bombing our embassies (Greece, Belgrade, etc.) they should be equipped with giant lasers and robot drones. Even more seriously, glad to hear that they are doing a nice job with this embassy. Hopefully the warm and fuzzy embassy makes Europeans like us more. Europeans like warm and fuzzy, that is, unless some mustacioed man is rampaging across the continent.

Last time I checked, the Germany Embassy wasnt too warm and fuzzy in the U.S. Maybe you Krauts can return the favor, move it to Vegas, and design it to look like Neuschwanstein Castle---with a casino, the worlds largest beer hall, and another Playboy Club. The Strip needs a German themed resort IMO. Ill shut up now.
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Old February 29th, 2008, 04:01 AM   #6
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Bit of security chaos around Grosvenor Sq because of that embassy and unfortunately a part of Canada's High Commission at MacDonald House (the other part being Canada House at Trafalgar) shares Grosvenor Sq with them too.

The US Embassy has a really nice location in Berlin anchoring the southern bit of Pariser Platz. The French are on the other side of the square with the Brits on the next street over to the east - in their original location. The Canadian Embassy is just 450m down the road from there at Leipziger Platz which is about 20m across the street from the former Reich Chancellery. What an insanely historical precinct this is.

Berlin paid for the new US Embassy??
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Old March 1st, 2008, 12:32 AM   #7
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I walked past the US embassy when i was in Berlin. No cars could get down the road because there was massive concrete slabs on the road, and also the entrance was heavily guarded. I think its a great symbol of America, they act that bad and treat other countries so shit that they have to have these precautions.
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Old March 1st, 2008, 02:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OliverChettle View Post
I hope they deliver on their promise to be good neighbours. The U.S. embassy in London behaves appallingly, with totally excessive security demands that just make Americans look cowardly, making life a misery in one of the most prestigious districts of London. If I was the PM, I'd tell the American diplomats to either accept the same risks as everyone else in London, or move the embassy to a U.S. Navy ship out at sea.
The US Embassy in Ottawa is the same, with huge fences, a lane of Sussex Drive blocked off, and a terribly ugly building that nearly ruins one side of an historic neighborhood. I hope it works out better in Berlin.
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Old March 1st, 2008, 02:52 AM   #9
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image hosted on flickr

bayernernst at http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2262578898/
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Old March 5th, 2008, 01:24 PM   #10
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The embassy will still be surrounded by gunmen though. Not exactly 'warm and fuzzy'.

I remember a few years ago, the US wanted the roads around one of its embassies in either London or Berlin to all be closed to traffic. Of course it never went ahead. but it was considered a very arrogant demand at the time..
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Old March 6th, 2008, 02:02 AM   #11
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Considering the extremist activity in Europe extra security is not surprising.
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Old March 6th, 2008, 02:59 AM   #12
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You know what would REALLY show their hope to build a better relationship with Germany? Is if the US payed to rebuild the palace that once stood there. With a lot of US hatred right now the security doesn't suprise me either.
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Old March 6th, 2008, 03:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
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You know what would REALLY show their hope to build a better relationship with Germany? Is if the US payed to rebuild the palace that once stood there. With a lot of US hatred right now the security doesn't suprise me either.
I believe it was the East Germans who demolished it.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 12:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OakRidge View Post
I believe it was the East Germans who demolished it.
I never said they didn't.
But I think it would really say something about the loyalty towards Germany if the US payed to rebuild a palace destroyed in WWII. The East Germans demolished the ruines of it.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 05:51 PM   #15
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Looks like a 2nd rate office building. At least the French Embassy stands out a bit more even though I don't particularly like it either.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 10:11 PM   #16
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It looks like a hospital...somewhere in Hintertupfingen.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 10:08 PM   #17
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This building is utter shite. It downrates the whole Pariser Platz (where the Brandenburg gate stands in front of).

But in the end it may fit an American embassy the best. At least it's safer than Fort Knox, I presume.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 06:42 PM   #18
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Its nothing special, but its not ugly either.

Regarding the security measurements, if the USA deems such a location with a functional street to be too insecure, maybe it should build its embassy in the middle of nowhere instead of right in the center of Berlin? To choose first a location and then demand that the environment has to change for the embassy is arrogance at its best.
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Old March 23rd, 2008, 06:40 AM   #19
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Wow, thats some boring embassy. Looks like a motorway Motel.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 11:28 PM   #20
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They always have to build modern crap like this. Do people not enjoy the graceful beauty of Gothic or classical style buildings?

It seems the US is exporting its chiefly utilitarian style of architecture that I see whenever I cross the pond. At least it wasn't designed by Frank Gehry or Renzo Piano, as its so popular to do so these days.
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