Weston Williamson + Partners (WW+P) has completed a major refurbishment of one of the jewels of the UK’s diplomatic crown – the British Embassy in Paris.
The British Embassy, located alongside the Elysée Palace on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, is one of the most important UK Government buildings in the world. WW+P was appointed in 2018 to lead the architectural design for the project, with the objective of modernising the entire building and maximising flexibility with increased usable workspace within the existing building envelope, improving circulation and wayfinding, and providing open-plan office spaces and high-quality meeting rooms to accommodate modern working practices.
Office space was remodelled by removing internal partitions and barriers, as part of a programme that has improved collaboration between teams by integrating the consular office into the main embassy building, creating a central hub for all UK Government activities in Paris. The ground floor was adapted to create a new conference suite, a new foyer chandelier and artwork has enhanced the main entrance, and previously hidden historic ceilings have been revealed and restored, further elevating the embassy’s impressive interiors. A comprehensive internal redecoration programme has seen new finishes, fixtures and fittings incorporated throughout, with WW+P sensitively employing a palette of bronze, steel and natural finishes such as stone, marble and timber to emphasise both the classical proportions of the existing fabric while creating elegant yet robust interiors that can serve the embassy well for many years to come.
A major intervention saw the introduction of two new staircases to improve movement and circulation throughout the building. The first is a continuous floating timber stair inspired by the stone stairs of the adjacent Residence, while the second is a striking folded perforated red steel staircase that not only addresses practical needs but is also intended to reflect UK design and manufacturing expertise.
A survey of the building’s façade was conducted to address water ingress and crumbling masonry, resulting in a comprehensive renovation of the south façade overlooking the garden.
The building remained occupied throughout four programme phases, allowing embassy operations to continue uninterrupted except for a brief three month pause during the Covid-19 pandemic. The completion of the project was marked by HM The King during his state visit to France in September 2023, when he and President Macron planted a tree in the embassy gardens.