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10 Cold War-Era US Embassies That Did Modernism Right

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Hailed as a huge diplomatic step forward, President Obama's announcement that the United States will reopen its embassy in Havana stands as one more concrete sign that relations between the two countries will be restored. A symbol of US might in a closed Communist country, the building's curious history mirrors the two nations' relationship. "Closed" by Eisenhower in 1961 and demoted to a US Interests Section, the Modernist tower designed by Harrison & Abramovitz, the architects behind the UN Headquarters, has been the site of political gamesmanship. Embassies have always provided a potent way to project US power, especially during the Cold War. Whereas in previous decades, the State Department had purchased existing buildings in foreign capitals, by the '50s, diplomats felt it was in our interest to commission a series of Modernist buildings that presented America as forward-thinking and idealistic. On the occasion of the Fourth of July, here are some of our favorite examples.

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