Mayfair’s Grade II-listed US embassy building is in line to become a five-star hotel, designed by Sir David Chipperfield.
The Grosvenor Square stone behemoth, conceived by architect Eero Saarinen, has been home to America’s diplomatic mission since 1960. But the embassy’s move to new digs in Nine Elms next year has paved the way for a 137-room hotel, along with a spa, events hall, shops and restaurants.
Bollards and barriers were added to the perimeter of the building in the aftermath of 9/11 but developer Qatari Diar told the Evening Standard it will restore the site to the public realm as an ‘open, expansive green space for residents and visitors to enjoy’.
Saarinen’s original design took cues from the Gothic Doge’s Palace in Venice, most notably its rhythmic facade. For the interiors he used a material palette of white marble, travertine and gold. Artist Theodore Roszak also created a 37 ft aluminium sculpture of an eagle that adorns the top of the building.
Qatari Diar’s plans to convert the nine-level building – the largest American embassy in western Europe – will be submitted to Westminster City Council next month. An exhibition of the scheme will run from 11 to 16 April at 24 Grosvenor Hill.