US Embassy Returns to Berlin's Heart

But 'Fort Knox at the Brandenburg Gate' riles many in German capital
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2008 3:00 PM CDT
US Embassy Returns to Berlin's Heart
US ambassador William R. Timken stands on a balcony overlooking the Pariser Platz at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. The new US embassy is across the square to the left.   (AP Photo)

With the July 4 backdrop, the US opened its new embassy in Berlin today, bringing to a close a project planned since reunification. The new facility stands near the historic Brandenburg Gate, the same location as its pre-World War II predecessor. But, the New York Times reports, the building has attracted severe criticism from everyone from local officials to architecture critics.

The new building stands in Pariser Platz, a grand square restored to past glory after decades in the dead zone near the Berlin Wall. But Washington's security measures rankled locals and delayed construction. The final structure, with a bland taupe facade, has been pilloried in German newspapers: One called it "Fort Knox on the Brandenburg Gate;" another wondered if it contained a "waterboarding area." (Read more Germany stories.)

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