Yes there was. You can see it in this fact sheet.
- in 2002, in anticipation of increased funding, OBO developed a design prototype of a standard embassy, modeled after the recently completed U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda. That design incorporated all the Department’s
security, code, and functional standards and requirements.
- There had been discussions to further develop that design specifically for small, medium, and large missions but that did not
materialize. instead, there was one standard design for a medium
mission - approximately 7,400 gross square meters - and all other
projects were merely variations of that medium design. in 2008, the
Department developed the Standard Secure mini Compound for projects
- in 2011, a steering committee and working group that included representatives from all OBO disciplines performed a comprehensive
review of the Bureau’s policies, processes and procedures and among
them was the standard embassy design. Following, OBO rolled the
successful elements as well as the lessons learned from the standard
embassy design into a set of design standards.
- These design standards include all the Department’s security, code, and functional standards and requirements. • The design standards
provide comprehensive direction to designers, engineers, and
construction professionals, enforce the same security and life safety
requirements, yet allow for flexibility for mission function and
climate. With an expansive portfolio that must accommodate a
significant range of work, from facilities with 1 consular window to
109, this is significant in allowing OBO to deliver functional
facilities. in 2002, in anticipation of increased funding, OBO
developed a design prototype of a standard
In 1985 a document called Inman Report was released following a few attacks on USA overseas buildings. Some of its recommendations, known as the Inman Standards, ended up being the main guideline for USA embassy construction.
- The United States must have complete control of their facilities overseas
- To avoid penetration and assault, the location of these buildings is of great importance. It is no longer an asset to be on the busiest,
more popular street
- It is equally important to consider the co-location of these buildings as occupants whom the United States doesn't control or
choose can pose a risk
- Modern electronic and audio technology can make it hard to safeguard important information; therefore, proximity to other buildings plays a
- Many buildings cannot be upgraded so age, architecture, and the design of the building are a concern for the ability to defend
penetration and assault
- The old approach to business must be overturned to promote a new approach for overseas construction and adequate funding for the
Using the Inman standards as a basis,...
the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999
requires five key security criteria, which address blast resistant
design and construction:
- 100-foot setbacks from streets and uncontrolled areas to protect
buildings from blasts.
- High-perimeter walls and fences that are
difficult to climb, protecting the compound by deterring attackers on
- Anti-ram barriers to prevent vehicles from breaching the
facility perimeter, getting close to the building, and detonating a
- Blast-resistant construction techniques and materials, such as
reinforced concrete and steel construction and blast-resistant
- Controlled access of pedestrians and vehicles at the
perimeter of a compound.
Later following the increased risks to overseas buildings...
...in 2002 the State Department adopted the Standard Embassy Design,
or SED, a boilerplate model that could be built fast anywhere in the
world. It had small, medium, and large options, like a t-shirt.
The result: dozens of new embassies and consulates completed quickly,
but lacked individual character. The culmination of the SED was the
massive, heavily fortified embassy in Baghdad, finished in 2009.
The depressing appearance and isolated locations of these embassies
did not go unnoticed. Some diplomats said they hampered local
The most recent buildings, however, tend to be following the new guidelines called the "Excellence in Diplomatic Facilities" whose description includes (Note: OBO for Overseas Buildings Operations):
OBO will hire leading American architects and engineers. Their
selection will be based on the quality of their design achievements
and portfolio of work. The selection methodology will be open,
competitive, and transparent.
In fact, although I'm not sure if the new London embassy was part of the program, it sure seems like a good example from it: