Ian Ritchie Architects were invited together with seven other leading British architectural practices to submit proposals for the new British Embassy on Wilhelmstrasse in Berlin. The concept is a composition of vertical spaces composed of enclosures and light voids. The major architectural elements of accommodation are placed at right angles to Wilhelmstrasse and define the central reception space. This space contains two islands, one at ground floor and the other at roof level. The ground island is separated by a moat and appears to float on water. Within the island are the conference facilities, while its English oak top surface serves as the main arrival and public functions level. The roof island suspended directly above accommodates the Chancery Red Zone. We have exploited the three blank walls creating a ‘perimeter wall zone’ containing plant, vertical services and circulation. The visible surface of these walls is an important location for artwork. Separating the service wall from the offices is a vertical void admitting natural light to lower levels. The embassy’s spatial presence on Wilhelmstrasse is created by allowing the vertical spaces to inform the street elevation. The service walls and ends of the office accommodation are stone faced and the end of the light voids are translucent glass. The central space presents a clear glass wall set back from the building line and is the enclosing wall to the interior of the embassy. Along the street building line, a second glazed screen creates an ‘off-street’ arrival space for pedestrians and official visiting cars. The outer screen is composed of translucent glass supported by a filigree of tensioned rods. It serves to filter light into the central space, provides visual privacy to the embassy staff and completes the integration of the building into the urban context.