Excellence Goes Abroad

November 11, 2011

The State Department’s Overseas Building Operations (OBO) is publishing  a new Guide to Design Excellence manual that is expected to be released in January. The agency's diverse portfolio means that a one-size-fits-all approach wouldn’t work. Instead, the notion is more that of a design constitution that architects interpret for local needs. Designs also need to project the values of an open society while maintaining extraordinarily high security standards. “It’s a huge challenge,” said Patrick Collins, OBO’s architectural design chief. “We also want to be very careful that we’re not creating an architecture that mimics the local vernacular, that seems to be colonial or imperial.”

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