Client Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Italian Chancery

Washington, DC

When the Ministry of Foreign Affairs needed a new office building to house the Italian Chancery, it knew it would involve an Italian designer, but sought a US firm that was familiar with the Washington, DC, area, had a portfolio of similar facilities and that could lead it through the process. LEO A DALY was engaged as the executive architect and engineer.

After locating a wooded five-acre site along Washington DC’s historic Embassy Row, design guidelines and parameters were developed for the competition, including full cartographic and photographic documentation of the site, site analysis, summary of local building codes and zoning regulations, outline of Washington's complex project approvals process, and information concerning all government, regulatory and civic organizations with an influence on the project. The Ministry also entrusted us with managing the invitational design competition, open to nine of Italy’s leading architects. The selection committee chose Piero Sartogo as the design architect.

Following the selection, LEO A DALY assumed the managing role on the project, responsible for implementing the planning, architectural and engineering aspects of Sartogo’s concept and making it feasible within the constraints of the Washington regulatory and construction environment. The project was completed within the time and budgetary constraints set by the Ministry.

At a glance

170,000 SF

80,000 SF Parking Structure

Open Circular Interior Piazza

Member of selection committee for design competition


Design Excellence for Architectural Design
American Institute of Architects, Washington, DC Chapter

Wooded Five-Acre Site, with approximately 40% of site undisturbed

Conceptual design features characteristic of Tuscan villas of the Renaissance era

Split in half diagonally, with the circular atrium at the center, it is structurally divided into two large triangles.

Developed design guidelines for the competition, including full cartographic and photographic documentation of the site; a detailed site analysis; a summary of local building codes and zoning regulations; an outline of Washington's complex project-approvals process; and information concerning all government, regulatory, and civic organizations with an influence on the project.



Site Planning

Architectural Design

Executive Architect

Engineer of Record:
Civil, Structural, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering

Construction Documents and Administration

Interior Design

"The expertise and professionalism of your collaborators are indicative of the high standards and distinct prestige enjoyed by your firm."


Different firms in the U.S. and Italy served as subcontractors.


In 1972, the Italians purchased a lot from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a piece of the campus of the neighboring Center for Hellenic Studies, where the current Italian Chancery was built.


The Italian stone, Pietra Rosa di Asiago - a soft marble, used on the exterior building facades, was cut  and dressed in Italy, shipped to the U.S., and installed by Italian masons.