what does the embassy of the future look like?
using a japanese embassy situated in the cultural core of moscow as a case study, this project represents a future vision of diplomacy rooted in soft power. in an era of globalization and trans-national politics, bi-lateral relationships are no longer confined to the internal interactions of state-level actors hidden behind the monastic compound of the embassy. with the proliferation of information technology, a shift in power to people-to-people diplomacy means that it is corporations, civil society groups, cultural movements, and ideas that shape our perception of other nations. diplomacy happens as much in the comment section of reddit as it does in an embassy. today, we are all ambassadors.
this embassy of the future fosters awareness and appreciation for japan by showcasing japanese art, design, gastronomy, history, culture, and technology to its russian audience. intellectual exchange and cultural soft-power are leveraged to create stronger bi-lateral connections and opportunities.01_research / 02_concept / 03_proposal
the background research was divided into three sections, guided by the questions focused around understanding the role of diplomacy and the embassy, the relationship between japan and russia, and finally the japanese position on diplomatic relationships.
a key takeaway throughout the research process was the wealth of cultural exports that japan has to offer. in fact, japan already has three cultural hubs in london, los angeles, and sao paulo as a way of addressing growing cultural interest globally. each "japan house" is equipped with a gallery, theatre, retail floor, restaurant, and library, and hosts a variety of different programs open to the public. similarly, the embassy of the future conceptually combines the "japan house" and a traditional embassy to create an experience that brings under one roof diplomatic, business, and cultural functions.
the chosen site is located in the cultural core of moscow, with one side of the site facing revolution square (and across from the bolshoi theatre), and the other facing nikolskaya street, a high traffic historical pedestrian street. in response to these contrasting urban conditions, a building strategy was adopted that would integrate the programmatic and massing needs of all three functions.
by preserving the historical facade facing nikolskaya street, the rhythm of the motifs can be used to subdivide the site into 12 equal "slices", each addressing a different programmatic requirement of the embassy. areas that are open for public use are grouped together in adjacent slices, separated by an open walkway from private workspaces. secured areas and central circulation spaces are maintained along the facade so employees, residents, and their guests can access any space quickly and easily.