Sustainability was key in this transformation of an understated villa to a secure modern embassy. The brief required the architecture to exhibit a hospitable presence, and to reflect contemporary Dutch practice while taking its context into account. The villa was ‘topped’ with a transparent, overhanging upper storey, and its centre hollowed out to provide a hall connecting old and new floors. For structural support and to filter light, a colonnaded portico clad in local Jerusalem stone was added, evoking Jordan’s classical architectural history. Its cloth solar shading refers to Bedouin tents. The original villa’s swimming pool now serves in winter as a heat-sink for the energy supplied by the roof-mounted photovoltaic cells.