An artists impression of the proposed new US Embassy in London
I have been reading a book edited by Michael Sorkin entitled "Indefensible Space. The Architecture of the National Insecurity State". The title draws on Oscar Newman's Defensible Space Theory. Within the book there is a chapter by Trevor Boddy - "Architecture Emblematic. Hardened Sites and Softened Symbols." Always on the look out for symbols of fear and insecurity I found this quote interesting;
"There is one building type - because of prominence, vulnerability and political associations - that has been the subject of hardening for far longer than others and may predict where the architecture of the insecurity state is headed. The building type is, of course, American embassies - that most emblematic of all emblematic architectures."
What are embassies for anyway? This article discusses this question.