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《经济学人》:美国大使馆,挖壕筑壑

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America’s embassies
美国大使馆

First, dig your moat
挖壕筑壑

Designing buildings for America’s diplomats is getting ever trickier
为美国外交官员设计建筑变得愈加棘手

Jul 30th 2011 | WASHINGTON, DC | from the print edition

“NOBODY can be messing with our embassy,” declared Barack Obama in mid-July, after a pro-government mob pelted America’s mission in Damascus with stones, eggs and tomatoes. That is not true, however, of the put-upon architects who have to design America’s embassies: they are constantly being hit with new restrictions, from both their own government and the host country.

“任何人都不能滋扰我们的大使馆,” 美国总统奥巴马七月中旬向外界如是宣布。此前,大马士革亲政府民众曾向美国大使馆投掷石头、鸡蛋和西红柿。然而对于那些受雇于美国,迫于无奈才设计美国大使馆的建筑师来说,他们可没这样的好运:他们经常因为本国政府和东道主国家施加的种种新限制而苦恼不已。

Ever since the bombing of the American embassy in Beirut in 1983, security has been the overarching concern when designing new embassies. Safety rules have been tightened repeatedly, and incorporated into a “standard embassy design” that dictates which offices should be adjacent to which (keep the bigwigs away from the public areas), how far embassy buildings should be set back from nearby roads (100 feet, or 30 metres), what materials can be used for walls and windows (nothing that is easy to climb or shatter) and so on. The result, critics say, is a dull series of near-identical, boxy bunkers. As John Kerry, who heads the Senate foreign-relations committee, put it in 2009, “We are building some of the ugliest embassies I’ve ever seen…I cringe when I see what we’re doing.”

自从美国驻贝鲁特大使馆在1983年发生爆炸事件以来,对于新使馆设计的安全性考虑向来是有过之而无不及。安全规则一再收紧并被纳入“标准使馆设计”——规定了各办公区的相邻性原则(政要办公区要远离公共区域)、使馆建筑距离附近公路应有的距离(100英尺或30米)和墙体和窗户所使用的材料(避免任何攀爬的可能性或可破坏性)等诸多因素。批评者认为,按此规则设计出的使馆不过是一系列单调得近乎相同、四四方方的掩体而已。正如参议院外交关系委员会主席约翰·克里2009年所言:“我们正在建造一些我见过的最丑陋的大使馆…每当见此情景我就深感厌恶”。

He is not alone. Londoners are less than thrilled by the thought of the “crystalline cube” that will slowly rise from the semi-gentrified riverine site of Nine Elms. This, at $1 billion the most expensive American embassy ever built, was made necessary when Grosvenor Square in Mayfair became too unsafe, despite the bomb-blast barriers that make the place look like a damper version of Baghdad.The new embassy will be separated from malicious sightseers by rolling parkland and a moat—100 feet wide, as required.

不只克里有此想法。伦敦人对于九号榆树巷半人工河处徐徐崛起的“水晶立方”建筑丝毫没有兴奋之感。尽管防炸弹爆炸障碍物使得新大使馆看上去象阴影笼罩的巴格达,但当梅费尔区格罗夫纳广场安全性无法保障时,花费10亿美元建造这座美国史上最昂贵的大使馆就显得很有必要了。通过种植草坪和挖掘100英尺宽(视需要而定)的护城河,有不良意图的观光客将无法接近这座新使馆。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
embargo [em'bɑ:gəu]

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n. 封港令,禁运,禁止(通商)

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moat [məut]

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n. 壕沟,护城河 vt. 将 ... 围以壕沟

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adjacent [ə'dʒeisnt]

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adj. 毗连的,邻近的,接近的

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interrupted [intə'rʌptid]

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adj. 中断的;被打断的;不规则的 vt. 打断;中断

 
malicious [mə'liʃəs]

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adj. 怀恶意的,恶毒的

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concrete ['kɔnkri:t]

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adj. 具体的,实质性的,混凝土的
n. 水

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separated ['sepəreitid]

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adj. 分居;分开的;不在一起生活的 v. 分开;隔开

 
creative [kri'eitiv]

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adj. 创造性的

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import [im'pɔ:t]

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n. 进口,进口商品,意义
v. 进口,输入

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awkward ['ɔ:kwəd]

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adj. 笨拙的,尴尬的,(设计)别扭的

 


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