In 1959 British architect Sir Basil Spence was commissioned to design a new British Embassy building as well as 14 staff flats on the site of the former building at Porta Pia. During an interview with ‘The Daily Mail’ in 1963, the architect said ‘I have as a neighbour on this site a building by Michelangelo setting an embarrassingly high standard for any architect to meet’. Spence created an Embassy with a square plan, built around a central courtyard and raised on pillars, which was opened in 1971. He also designed a Chancery building (office building), although this was never realised, and began work on designs for a new Ambassador’s Residence. This drawing is for a Pompeian style drawing room for Spence’s proposed new Residence. However, this project was also not carried out and instead Villa Wolkonsky continues to serve as the Ambassador’s Residence.
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