Is Marcel Breuer’s American Embassy in the Netherlands up for the Challenge of Change?
Docomomo Netherlands hosted a playful debate concerning the possible future of Marcel Breuer’s American Embassy in The Hague. Charlotte Van Emstede kindly agreed to write a little review about the problems that this important building is facing, regarding a possible change of use.
In the area of historic preservation, the solitary Modern Movement building has always posed a problem for our field. An “oddity”, debate surrounds a perceived mismatch between Modern Architecture and their historical surroundings of ornamented 18th-19th century architecture. This is also the case with the American Embassy in The Hague, theNetherlands. The embassy was designed by Marcel Breuer from 1957-1959. Since the Gulf War, and especially after 9/11, the embassy became a defensive, "attack proof" building, heavily guarded by high fences and permanent police protections. It is expected that in the near future, the American embassy will leave Breuer's building and move to a new, more easily protected location.