August 06, 2021
Press Releases & News

New Australian Embassy Tops Out in Downtown DC, One Step Closer to Completion

WASHINGTON, DC - The construction of the Chancery for the Australian Embassy has reached a significant milestone with the topping out of the new facility. On August 6, Clark Construction Group joined Australia’s Ambassador Paul Myler, Chargé d’affaires, Deputy Chief of Mission, Australian Embassy, Washington DC, to mark the significant milestone which marks the completion of structural concrete and the construction of the building’s full height.

Clark Construction Group is leading the construction efforts on the project. Australian architectural studio Bates Smart is the designer, with the DC-based architectural firm KCCT serving as the Architect of Record. Clark constructed the original Bates Smart-designed Australian Embassy building over 50 years ago.

L to R: Dave Tacchetti (Senior Vice President, Clark Construction), Ambassador Paul Myler (Deputy Head of Mission, U.S. Australian Embassy), Bill Bartling (Vice President, Clark Construction), Major General Andrew Freeman AM (Defence Attaché- Head of Australian Defence Staff, U.S. Australian Embassy), Ian Carpenter (Project Director, U.S. Australian Embassy), Mike Alto (Division President, Clark Construction)

Located in the heart of Washington, DC’s ‘Embassy Row’, the state-of-the-art, 213,600-square-foot embassy will enable the Australian government to advance its political, security, defense, development, trade, investment, and business relationships with the United States. Once complete, the New Chancery for the Australian Embassy will feature an expansive glass atrium, an open public area looking towards the White House, an exhibition gallery, and function spaces for ceremonial and public events.

Since November 2020, construction crews have poured 18,700 cubic yards of concrete to bring the project to full height,

“Today we mark the ‘topping out’ ceremony for the new Australian Embassy – an important milestone in the construction of the chancery but also a sign that Australia’s new official home in the heart of Washington, DC is a step closer to completion”, said the Hon. Arthur Sinodinos AO, Australia’s Ambassador to the United States. “Australia has no better friend or ally than the United States.  It is fitting that this ceremony is taking place in 2021, when we celebrate seventy years of the ANZUS alliance. The new chancery exemplifies the spirit of partnership between our countries – designed by an Australian architectural firm (Bates Smart) and built by an American construction company (Clark Construction). Once complete, I envisage it as a place to experience the best of Australia; to discuss the big issues facing our nations; to do business; and to celebrate our unbreakable bond”.

The Clark Construction team has worked within the confines of a tight site, bordered by Scott Circle, the Philippines Embassy, and a historic cathedral-style church with fragile stained-glass windows, to construct the new building within the footprint of the old embassy building. After a year-long effort to demolish the former facility and excavate the below-grade structure, crews began vertical construction in November 2020. Since that time, crews have poured 18,700 cubic yards of concrete and laid 2,600 tons of rebar to bring the embassy to its full vertical height.

Ambassador Paul Myler, Chargé d’affaires, Deputy Chief of Mission, Australian Embassy, Washington DC

“This is such an exciting moment for the entire project team,” said Bill Bartling, Clark’s vice president in charge of the new embassy. “The topping out ceremony is an opportunity to pause and recognize the hard work of the craftworkers that have dedicated over 200,000 hours to reach this tremendous milestone.”

In addition to showcasing the Australian design, materials, and talent, the new embassy embodies Australia’s global leadership in sustainable design, construction, and innovation. The facility is pursuing the highest global environmental design certifications available, with features including a thermally efficient façade, a green roof with an extensive photovoltaic array, the expansive use of natural light, and the latest building services technologies.

Dave Tacchetti, Senior Vice President, Clark Construction Group

Steve Jones, a studio director of Bates Smart, said, “We are very proud to have led the design of the new Australian Embassy in Washington, DC. The design of the project embodies Australia through direct references to our nation’s bright and clear natural light, its open skies, its warm materiality and its vast scale. It is a civic building that references our landscape, and its architecture and interiors reflect Australia’s enduring and welcoming spirit.”

Rendering of the New Chancery for the Australian Embassy

The New Chancery for the Australian Embassy is scheduled to open in early 2023.