The US Embassy in Beijing serves as the bilateral mission between China and the United States, housing more than 20 federal agencies. The various offices are listed under Sections and Offices. For Visa and American Citizens’ Services also see separate sections in main menu of this site.
Diplomatic relations between China and the United States date back to 18th century, which makes China one of the countries in Asia with the longest diplomatic ties to the United States. See the Office of the Historian for more background information on U.S. diplomatic history or visit our History of the U.S. and China page.
Completed in 2008, the main U.S. Embassy compound in Beijing, China, is a secure, state-of-the-art facility located northeast of the Forbidden City in Beijing’s Third Diplomatic Enclave. The Department of State’s second-largest overseas construction project, it is a beautiful integration of Eastern and Western design traditions.
The planning for this compound started in the mid-1990s to solve the logistical issues, security concerns, and increasing demand for consular services in Beijing. The Department of State sought to obtain the “best of American architecture” through a Federal Design Excellence program competition. The winning design of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP, Architects (SOM) resulted in the energy-efficient and sustainable building standing in Beijing today.
Eastern and Western aesthetics were considered not only in the building and landscape design, but also in the selection of artwork displayed throughout the Embassy. The State Department’s Art in Embassies (AIE) program curated the permanent collection installed throughout the Embassy complex consisting of work by major American and Chinese artists. Additions to this collection continue to be made by the Foundation of Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE), including a planned installation of a site-specific Martin Puryear sculpture in 2018. The iconic Tulips sculpture by Jeff Koons is the only temporary work, currently on a 10-year loan.
Situated on a 10-acre site, the Embassy consists of 6 buildings, including a new annex completed in 2016, and houses more than 1,300 American and locally hired staff representing almost 50 different federal agencies. The size and the scope of the U.S. Mission in China reflect both the importance of the U.S.-China bilateral relationship and the range of topics in which the two countries are currently engaged.
- Cost: $434 million USD (2,976,632,400.00 CNY)
- Number of Local workers who assisted in construction: 10,000
- Site area: 10 acres (4 hectares)
- Project area: 500,000 square feet (152,400 square meters)
- Architectural Design by: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP, Architects (SOM) of San Francisco, California
- Landscape Designer: Peter Walker and Associates, Berkeley, California
- General Construction Contractor: Zachry Caddell Joint Venture (ZCJV)
- Zachry Construction Corporation, San Antonio, Texas
- Caddell Construction Company, Montgomery, Alabama
- Complex consisted of 6 separate Modern buildings connected by narrow hutong-like walkways
- 8-story main chancery
- 3-story Atrium office building
- Marine Security Guard Quarters
- Consular building
- 7-story annex with public programming space
- Parking and utility structure/ancillary guard structure
- Buildings are protected by a perimeter wall, with a buffer of landscaped grounds between the wall and buildings
- Perimeter wall in front of the consular section shifts from concrete to thick, blast-proof, transparent glass, allowing passerbys a view inside the compound
- All buildings incorporate earthquake resistant design features due to China’s high seismic risk
- September 11, 2001—Final 5 design teams selected to compete for the Embassy design contract arrive in Beijing
- SOM announced winner of the design competition
- February 10, 2004—Ground Breaking Ceremony
- Participants: U.S. Ambassador Clark T. Randt, Jr. and Vice Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong and other Chinese Officials
- May 28, 2004—Construction Commenced
- April 11, 2007—Topped out
- August 8, 2008—Dedication
- Dedicated by President George W. Bush
Environmental Sustainability Aspects
- Construction materials utilized are high quality with low life-cycle costs
- Natural light used extensively to keep energy costs low
- Storm water retained on site is purified through a series of lotus ponds
- Consumption and carbon emissions reduced through white roofing and state-of-the-art mechanical systems
Air Quality Monitor
The U.S. Embassy has an air quality monitor to measure PM 2.5 particulates as an indication of the air quality on the Embassy compound located in Chaoyang district. Pollutants such as particle pollution are linked to a number of significant health effects — and those effects are likely to be more severe for sensitive populations, including people with heart or lung disease, children, and older adults. This monitor is a resource for the health of the American community. Citywide analysis cannot be done, however, on data from a single machine.
Particulates less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM 2.5) are referred to as “fine” particulates and are believed to pose the largest health risks. PM 2.5 is a standard recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and allows us to compare against U.S. standard measures. PM 2.5 particulates are of concern since they are small enough to directly enter the lungs and even the blood stream. For more information, please visit the EPA site.
The U.S. EPA has developed a formula to convert PM 2.5 readings into an air quality index (AQI) value that can help inform health-related decisions. For example, an AQI value of 50 represents good air quality with little potential to affect public health, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality. Please note that AQI is different from the Air Pollution Index (API) used in China. For more information on AQI and how it is calculated, please click here.
The monitor’s measurements, expressed in the form of PM 2.5 concentration (micrograms per cubic meter, µg/m3) and corresponding AQI, are available on Twitter .
United States Embassy of Beijing, China
No. 55 An Jia Lou Lu 100600
Tel: +86-10 8531-3000
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