C&C Consulting Engineers was engaged in site design for a new annex at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece. This project, which covered one full city block adjacent to the existing chancery, included a 54,000 square-foot office building, a 220-car parking garage, a Marine Service General Quarters, a fuel depot, and numerous security posts and perimeter structures.
This important expansion was protected from unfriendly actions through a complex system of active and passive security devices. These devices included perimeter walls designed for blasts, access controlled to two controlled access centers, vehicle routing to and through the site to discourage high-speed approach, and an emergency access corridor over paver-block-reinforced lawn areas. To ensure control under even the most adverse conditions, the project also included an on-site fire suppression system, utility services with meters and backflow preventers at the property lines, and locking manhole covers on all storm and sanitary structures.
Our responsibilities included site grading, drainage, utility construction, and coordination with the City of Athens in order to accommodate the construction a public park on a portion of the property. This complex work was done to the exacting standards of the U.S. Department of State. One of the greatest challenges of the project was the design of grading and utility penetrations associated with the blast walls surrounding the site. Surface grading was developed to ensure storm drainage away from the wall on both sides, and extreme care had to be taken to control the difference in elevation of the ground on the two sides of the wall to assure security in the event of a terrorist attack. Similarly, drainage lines needed to be planned so that storm water could only flow away from the interior space rather than straight into it. On gas and water lines, valves were used to control unwanted substance transport into the interior. The grading of the entrance drives was also designed to preclude flows of possibly flammable liquids or other contaminants past the two sallyport entrances that controlled access to the new embassy annex.