WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — In an important symbol of America’s commitment to an enduring friendship with Latvia, as well as our bilateral relationship with the Government of Latvia, the new United States Embassy facility officially opened in Riga today. Latvia’s Prime Minister, Valdis Dombrovskis; U.S. Ambassador to Latvia, Judith Garber; Latvian Ambassadors Martins Virsis and Maris Riekstins; former American Ambassadors Curtis Kamman, Brian Carlson, Catherine Todd Bailey, and Ints Silins; and Managing Director for the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) Construction, Facility, and Security Management Directorate, Rod Evans, participated in the ceremony.
The New Embassy Compound, located in the Sampeteris-Pleskodale neighborhood of Pardagauva, was designed to create a gateway to the United States that combines an appropriate balance of cordiality and security. The building design incorporates several sustainable features, most notably highly efficient mechanical equipment and an advanced stormwater retention system. The facility is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council, and will be submitted for certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building rating system.
The embassy showcases a permanent art collection celebrating the exchange of artistic expression between the United States and Latvia through forty-five works by American, Latvian, and Latvian-American artists, curated by OBO’s Office of Art in Embassies.
The multi-building complex occupies a 10-acre site and creates a secure, state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable, and pleasant workplace for over 125 employees. The compound includes a Chancery that provides desk space for 101 employees, a Marine Security Guard Quarters, a General Services Office annex, three Compound Access Control buildings (CACs), and a utility building.
A.I.C.I-SP of Arlington, Virginia constructed the facility, which was designed by Sorg Architects of Washington, D.C. The $115 million project generated jobs in both the United States and Latvia. The new facility was completed in the spring of 2011 and, at times, involved more than 300 workers in its construction.
Since the 1999 enactment of the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act, the Department has moved more than 24,000 people into safer facilities. Including the new Embassy in Riga, OBO has completed 83 diplomatic facilities and has an additional 34 projects in design or construction.
OBO’s mission is to provide safe, secure, and functional facilities for the conduct of U.S. diplomacy and the promotion of U.S. interests worldwide. These facilities represent American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution. For further information, please visit the OBO website at http://www.state.gov/obo,