The £620m embassy is being built in the Nine Elms district, on the south bank of the river Thames between Vauxhall Bridge and the Battersea Power Station redevelopment.
BL Harbert’s prime subcontractor is Sir Robert McAlpine. Bauer has already completed a three-month contract this autumn to install piling and diaphragm walls.
Yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremony was attended by US ambassador Matthew Barzun, director of the bureau of overseas buildings operations Lydia Muniz and Wandsworth council leader Ravi Govindia.
The new embassy, designed by Philadelphia architect KieranTimberlake, is being built on a 4.9-acre site in the Nine Elms Opportunity Planning Area and will include a chancery, a consular section, support spaces, a U.S. Marine residence, access pavilions, and parking.
Ms Muniz said: “Our new building will be a model of energy conservation and will boast cutting edge features that meet both the US and UK standards of energy efficiency and the use of alternative energy sources. This project is not just about the building. It is the people who work there – both British and American, those who visit it, and those who work in close proximity to it. Its design and location encourage walking, cycling, and the use of public transportation.”
Mr Govindia said: “We’re delighted work is now officially underway on what will be one of the most remarkable embassies in our great city. It is going to be a dazzling centrepiece for Nine Elms on the South Bank and will set new standards for low energy use and sustainability.”
The new embassy is expected to be completed in 2017.