President Juan Orlando Hernandez,
Mayor Nasry “Tito” Asfura,
Chargé d’Affaires Fulton,
Ladies and gentlemen.
I am honored to be here on behalf of U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations and would like to thank you for joining us for this wonderful groundbreaking ceremony here in Tegucigalpa.
This project started with a great challenge and a vision. The challenge was to build a new diplomatic home for the U.S. Embassy that would meet our need to engage with the people of Honduras and to provide security to our Embassy community and our many visitors.
The vision was that this new presence would both embody and communicate the spirit of American democracy and honor the important relationship between the United States and Honduras.
SHoP architects of New York, New York were selected to make that vision a reality. Here, in the heart of the city, SHoP has designed a compelling statement of our countries’ commitment to each other in a very real and concrete sense.
Their design takes cues from the mountainous Honduran landscape and it connects the buildings to the surrounding area.
The north façade will engage the city and serve as the front door to the chancery. Important attention was given to the visitor experience. Consular visitors to the campus will be invited through a pavilion and gardens with integrated site lighting, artwork, and landscape.
The theme carries through from the site to the interior. Work, meeting, and public spaces are designed to be highly flexible and enhance productivity and collaboration. The new American Center will enhance outreach and public diplomacy efforts.
SHoP’s design offers an inspiring environment for diplomacy as well as a new diplomacy for the environment. It manages holistically the use of water, energy, and materials, and integrates building systems so that they work together to reduce consumption and extend the life of the building.
The project is intended to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification – a certification recognized globally as a leading mark of achievement in high performance, best-in-class, and green buildings.
But this project is not just about the building. It is also about and for the people who work here – both Honduran and American – those who visit, and those who will live and work around the new Embassy compound.
The permanent art collection, curated by Art in Embassies, will include works by American and Honduran artists. The collection will create a dialogue of shared values between the people of our two countries and will include site-specific commissions reflecting the diversity and richness of U.S. and Honduran cultural heritage.
And making SHoP’s design a reality is long-time construction partner to the U.S. State Department, B.L. Harbert International from Birmingham, Alabama, who, through this project, will invest an estimated $26.5 million into the local economy and employ approximately 750 Honduran workers at the peak of construction activity.
I am proud that my organization, the Bureau of Overseas Business Operations, is committed to designing, constructing, and maintaining facilities that are secure, resilient, sustainable, and represent our country’s best methods, practices, and innovation in design and construction. I know that this project will deliver on that commitment.
I would like to acknowledge the superb support we have received from the Government of Honduras, as well as the city of Tegucigalpa, who have provided vital assistance to this project.
I would also like to thank the U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa team for their outstanding support in pushing the project forward and for making this event today possible.
Again, thanks to the SHoP designers for their amazing vision and commitment to enhancing the U.S. presence in Honduras and to our excellent OBO project team who began this effort many months ago.
Thank you all for coming for this special day and it is my distinct pleasure to join the President, Mayor, and Chargé Fulton in celebrating our groundbreaking ceremony.