At the time of its construction the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was seen as a controversial symbol of increasing U.S. influence in the region. Designed in the midst of increasing violence towards U.S. embassies and military bases abroad, it incorporated security features and blast-resistant design and testing that had previously not been necessary. The massive, sand-colored concrete facade is set atop 30-foot-high columns, which have been described as "pharaonic in character." The facade design is reminiscent of the Corbusian egg crate, with deeply recessed fins to provide shade, evoking the vernacular architecture of the Middle-East. Housed within the concrete shell is a glass curtain-wall skyscrapers, akin to those common in the United States during this period. The original program included an office tower, a swimming pool, reflecting pool, tennis courts, green areas and a ceremonial drive. In the 1990s the complex was expanded to include ambassador's residences.