Conceptual embassy proposed by graduate Muhammad Sahrum
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Muhammad Sahrum proposes hot-desking and games in conceptual 21st-century embassy

Graduate shows 2016: architecture graduate Muhammad Sahrum has envisioned an embassy for the 21st century, with flexible workspaces and games rooms to make diplomatic decision making more informal.

The Inverted Fortress by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum
Sahrum's proposal features rooms shaped like crazy golf courses and table-tennis pads

Muhammad Sahrum designed the project titled The Inverted Fortress: An Open Embassy as his graduation project from the University of Greenwich in London, where he studied in Unit 20.

The project takes as its starting point a quote from former UK diplomat Carne Ross, which highlights the independence given to diplomats to make policy decisions on behalf of the public, without scrutiny and often without citizens' knowledge.

The Inverted Fortress by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum
His proposal also includes buildings shaped like giant souvenirs

"With that in mind, this project wishes to take a humorous point-of-view at the act of diplomacy," said Sahrum.

"The project, an embassy for the Unrecognized Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), is in essence hot-desking for diplomats."

The Inverted Fortress by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum
He sees embassies evolving in line with changing working culture, where data is stored online, freeing space up for recreational activities

Sahrum takes the soon-to-be decommissioned United States Embassy in London's Grosvenor Square, which is set to relocate to Nine Elms in the London Borough of Wandsworth next year.

He sees the future embassy evolving in line with changing working culture – which has seen an increase in hot-desking and shared co-working, as the preferred method of data storage moves increasingly away from physical hardware towards online cloud systems.

The Inverted Fortress by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum
Drawings and models show how these new working environments might look

"Set in the not-too-distant future, the project highlights ways in which the embassy of the future might develop," he said.

"Looking into a new typology of embassy of the 21st century, responding to the shifts in working culture and the unreasonable costs of a country – namely developing countries – in owning their own embassy in cities such as London."

The Inverted Fortress by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum
Some spaces are shaped to represent the activity that takes place, while others are based on the types of souvenirs diplomats typically recieve

Sahrum has created a series of drawings and models showing how these new working environments might look, with decisions made over tennis tables rather than in the board room.

The Inverted Fortress by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum
An overview of the proposed embassy shows sunken courtyards and more visible workspaces

Some are shaped to represent the activity that takes place within like the giant pink ping-pong bat with a table tennis arena embedded in its paddle, while others are based on souvenirs diplomats might receive such as a statue of the Buddha.

The Inverted Fortress by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum
Part of the design is based on the layout of a crazy golf course – click for larger image

The spaces riff on the type of recreational spaces included in new hot-desking or co-working spaces that are popping up across major cities, which aim to foster relationships between workers.

The Inverted Fortress by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum
A table tennis arena is inserted inside a structure shaped like a ping-pong bat, where Sahrum imagines decisions might be made instead of a board room

"A position was taken of creating a landscape of hedonistic pleasures where diplomacy is seen as an act of decision-making taking place within the informal environment of crazy golf courses, for example, outside the realms of board rooms and formal settings," said Sahrum.

"One of the underlying themes of this project is that of soft power as an effective diplomatic tool."

Images are courtesy of Muhammad Sahrum.

The Inverted Fortress by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum
Site plan – click for larger image
The Inverted Fortress by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum
Floor plan – click for larger image
The Inverted Fortress by Muhammad Shamin Sahrum
Section – click for larger image