Australian Embassy Temporary Chancery

The replacement of the Australian Embassy on its current site involves the creation of temporary swing space to accommodate the entire 180 desk embassy and its programs for a period of three years during construction. KCCT's design of this facility in association with Bates Smart of Melbourne Australia provides a secure, dignified and representational temporary embassy using five floors of a commercial office building. 

The rectangular shape of the center-core building offered 20,330 sf floor plates with a leasable area of approximately 15,000 sf per floor. Five floors (levels five through nine) and portions of the Basement were needed to satisfy the tight-sized embassy's swing space program for 90,000sf.  To maintain egress and facilitate building maintenance the elevator lobby and one corridor adjacent to the core remain publicly accessible on each floor. Decentralized security screening areas control access to tenant space on each occupied floor.

Australian embassies are closely aligned with US Embassies regarding security classification of space and blocking and stacking rules. To achieve physical and operational security in a leased facility with other tenants, zones with higher security are located at the ends of the floor plates and are sandwiched between cascading zones of lower security controlled by the embassy lease. 

The design requirements include public meeting space for diplomatic functions, security requirements and maintaining space plans that address required department adjacencies.  Public Access is provided on the top floor to capitalize on the unobstructed views of Washington. Other embassy organizations requiring frequent public access are located on the lowest floor to bracket the more secure spaces in the middle. 

Workplace design included considerations for cost-effective reuse of existing furniture, leased furniture, new furniture that could be reused in the new facility and the integration of the various furniture to achieve the design and representational aspirations of the client. Move management considerations factor into the design to ensure that operations are not adversely affected during the moves because of furniture decisions.




Washington, DC


90,000 SF


Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


• Architecture
• Interior Design
• Programming