With the July 4 backdrop, the US opened its new embassy in Berlin today, bringing to a close a project planned since reunification. The new facility stands near the historic Brandenburg Gate, the same location as its pre-World War II predecessor. But, the New York Times reports, the building has attracted severe criticism from everyone from local officials to architecture critics.
The new building stands in Pariser Platz, a grand square restored to past glory after decades in the dead zone near the Berlin Wall. But Washington's security measures rankled locals and delayed construction. The final structure, with a bland taupe facade, has been pilloried in German newspapers: One called it "Fort Knox on the Brandenburg Gate;" another wondered if it contained a "waterboarding area."