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British Embassy

  • Britische Botschaft
  • Botschaft von Großbritannien

    Winter Garden at the British Embassy in Berlin.

  • Botschaft von Großbritannien

    Winter Garden at the British Embassy in Berlin.

The British Embassy near the Brandenburg Gate is an exemplary building of postmodernism. Next to the conservative Hotel Adlon, the eye-catching facade is particularly striking.

"You want a Berlin set in stone? You shall have it. You want rectangular windows and a traditional pitched roof? I'll give it to you. But it's all just scenery," the British Embassy building on Wilhelmstraße, inaugurated in 2000, seems to shout to passersby. This postmodern building par excellence was designed by Michael Wilford, the longtime partner of the more famous James Stirling, who died in 1992.

Architecture of the British Embassy

For the British Embassy, Wilford ironically broke up a sandstone facade that could not be more boring and unmasks it as empty dazzle. The building's windows sit at an angle behind the "stone wallpaper". The facade is slanted toward the neighboring buildings. In the middle of the street-facing wall, where the "Piano Nobile" or the most distinguished floor was located in classical palaces, a two-storie-high hole gapes almost across the entire width of the building facade. Out of this hole - as an absolute break in style - two brightly colored buildings rise: a round, purple conference room and a light blue, trapezoidal information center. The embassy's entrance, on the other hand, could not be simpler: It is smoothly cut into the wall, which here looks like a courtyard wall.

A Striking Facade in a Serious Environment

Whether Wilford's postmodern embassy building seems refreshingly unconventional between the noble, "serious" facades of the adjacent Hotel Adlon, the bright senior citizens' residence designed by Gustav Peichl and the neo-Renaissance palace used by the Bundestag, or more like a desperate call for attention, is something every passerby can decide for themselves.

Exciting Interior Design

The embassy building reveals its special quality in the two courtyards inside the block, around which Wilford has grouped offices for the embassy's 120 employees. The open courtyard of honor behind the entrance, in which an English oak tree stands, is followed by a glass-roofed conservatory, the "communication center" of the building, whose higher level is reached via a grand staircase and through columns. The interior of the building block is dominated by glass, sheet metal cladding in front of the upper of the six floors, and vivid colors.

Between Tradition, Functionality and Modernity

Geographically, the United Kingdom's embassy follows old traditions: From 1884 until the Second World War, His Majesty's Ambassador resided at this location, in the former palace of the railroad entrepreneur Strousberg. The new British Embassy building, which incidentally is the first embassy building worldwide to be financed purely privately and only rented by the British state, was intended to meet the changed requirements of a diplomatic mission. Its inside contains a successful sequence of rooms for receptions and events, while its outside is dominated by a facade that seeks a balance between traditional English understatement and cheeky references to pop culture.


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Wilhelmstraße 70 - 71
10117 Berlin
+49 (0)30 204 570

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Last edited: 25 August 2023