Dutch Embassy in Amman
Architects: Rudy Uytenhaak
Location: Amman, Jordan
Client: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Design team: Fumi Hoshino Frank Langhorst, Felix Reiter, Jaap Hikke, Sebastian Sterniak
Area: 1,000 sqm
Local consultant: Consolidated Consultants, Amman
Installations: Royal Haskoning
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Pieter Kers
The Dutch Embassy in Amman concerns the renovation of a villa within a walled garden. The entrances and the various consulate functions are situated on the ground floor in the original building layer, while a separate new structure above this houses the public section of the embassy. The building as a whole is given a unified character by a light-filtering portico made of local Jerusalem Stone. This framework along with the fixed parasol sails shade the building from the heat of the sun, so the embassy staff can enjoy the attractive views of the garden without the discomfort of excessive heat.
Integrated sustainable systems ensure a mild microclimate. The original swimming pool is reused as a thermal buffer. During the mild summer nights the pool is kept cool through a heat exchange from panels above the parking places. In the winter, in contrast, these panels collect heat. In this way the temperature differences between day and night can be moderated.
In 2006 the Dutch government bought a villa in Amman, the capital of Jordan, with a view to converting it into the new Netherlands Embassy. Architect Rudy Uytenhaak was commissioned to achieve this within the framework of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ sustainability strategy. In his remodeling and extension of the one-story villa in a walled garden with swimming pool, Uytenhaak drew inspiration from Jordanian architecture. He retained the existing structure and used local materials, like the pale yellow limestone known as ‘Jerusalem Stone’, for the extra story and for the arcade around the house. The thick walls ensure a cool indoor climate, while the use of natural ventilation, shade cloths for sun protection and thermal energy storage via the swimming pool water, make for a highly efficient energy management In accordance with government directives, sustainability did not end with the building; the embassy is also set up to be run on sustainable lines. Paper, glass and plastics will be recycled and staff are permitted to dump their private waste in the embassy’s collection bins. Thanks to these innovative green concepts, the embassy can pride itself on being the first building in Jordan, and the first Netherlands embassy building, to be awarded the prestigious LEEDS Silver certificate from the American Green Building Council. With the new embassy in Amman, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues its tradition of deploying high-profile Dutch architecture on Dutch territory abroad.