The United States and Mexico have a consequential bilateral relationship, directly impacting the everyday lives of millions of U.S. and Mexican citizens, whether through trade, joint security, or tourism. Within similar timeframes, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations has undertaken five major builds across Mexico: four new consulate facilities in Hermosillo, Guadalajara, Merida, and Nogales, and a new embassy in Mexico City. Among the Mission Mexico new facilities, the new consulate complex in Guadalajara is an important physical representation of the long-term commitment to the U.S.- Mexico relationship and a permanent presence.

Since 1881, the United States Government has maintained representation in Guadalajara, initially through a Consular Agency, which evolved into a Consulate General in 1960. Situated in the heart of Jalisco, Guadalajara serves as the geographic epicenter of a region that draws a variety of tourists throughout the year: from beach enthusiasts flocking to the shores of Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit, to culture aficionados exploring the capital city’s vibrant streets, and adventure seekers setting out to explore Lake Chapala and the charming towns of Tequila and Ajijic. Guadalajara and its environs continue to provide an exciting vision for Mexico’s future: a strong regional partner with robust cultural and interpersonal ties presenting extensive opportunities for U.S. investment.   

Project Overview

The Miller Hull Partnership

Design Architect


Architect of Record

BL Harbert International

General Contractor

8.5 acres

Site Size

$191 million

Project Budget

$66 million

Estimated Local Investment

Forging a Bilateral Relationship

The relationship between Mexico and the United States is multifaceted and characterized by an interconnectedness founded on geography, sustained through economy, and nurtured by cultural exchange. The existing U.S. consulate general in Guadalajara has become a vital hub for fostering diplomatic ties, facilitating trade, supporting U.S. citizens abroad, and strengthening bilateral relations across Mexico. The new facility builds on the U.S. – Mexico partnership through expanded consular services, art and culture exchange, and shared sustainability goals.

A Vibrant Mexican Cultural Hub

Guadalajara, the vibrant capital of Jalisco and one of Mexico’s largest metropolitan areas, is known as the “Pearl of the West”. Jalisco is the birthplace of iconic Mexican cultural emblems including mariachi music and tequila. Guadalajara is also increasingly known internationally for its contemporary art community. Renowned artists including José Clemente Orozco, María Izquierdo and Chucho Reyes are from the state of Jalisco, and Guadalajara is the hometown of Mexico’s world-renowned architect, Luis Barragán.

Working with the Landscape

Situated on a plateau 1,500 meters above sea level, Guadalajara is surrounded by the Primavera Forest to the west, the dramatic 600-meter-deep Oblatos Canyon to the northeast, and Lake Chapala to the southeast. The city’s unique landscape features rolling hills, lush greenery, and oak forests.

Guadalajara is located in the biodiverse Bajio Dry Forest ecoregion, which faces various ecological challenges including urbanization and deforestation. To address these issues, the new consulate site design prioritizes the preservation of the local environment and ecosystem by retaining a series of street trees that border the site protecting a mature grove of Jacaranda trees just inside the compound, and landscaping with native plants. These trees provide shade and greenery for employees and visitors and serve as vital habitat for wildlife. The exterior of the consulate assumes a more neutral palette intended to highlight the surrounding lush landscape.

Local Climate & Context

Reinterpreting the Palapa
Given Guadalajara’s mild climate, outdoor living is not only possible but also quite common provided there is protection from the sun and rain. To accommodate this indoor/outdoor flexibility, the building integrates an interpretation of the vernacular “palapa” shading device. Historically crafted from timber and palm fronds, contemporary versions utilize various materials such as fabrics, wood, steel, and even solar panels. This feature not only shades the consulate’s façade and outdoor spaces but also creates a grand civic gesture befitting the facility’s significance.

Palette and Materials
The refined material palette features white granite panels, floor-to-ceiling glass, and stainless-steel accents. A colonnade of tall, simple tubular steel columns supports the powder-coated aluminum palapa shade panels, reinforcing the building’s civic character and ensuring functionality and visual appeal that will withstand the local climate.

Urban Context
Located in Guadalajara’s Monraz neighborhood, the new consulate enjoys a central position in a dynamic community that combines historical charm with modern amenities. Bordered by picturesque hills to the west and bustling commercial streets with retail and restaurants to the east, the area provides a blend of tranquility and vitality. With convenient access to major roads and services, the consulate serves as a hub for both official functions and community engagement, creating a welcoming and accessible site for diplomatic activities in the region.

Collaboration in Construction

The new consulate sets a high standard for environmental responsibility by integrating advanced energy- and water-efficiency measures. These include innovative stormwater management techniques, water-efficient drip irrigation systems, and a wastewater treatment system designed to fulfill 100% of the landscaping irrigation demand. To further reduce its environmental footprint, fifteen percent of the office building’s energy consumption will be supplied by solar panels.

The site design emphasizes sustainability by maximizing the use of locally sourced, drought-tolerant plants and trees, minimizing the need for watering. Palapa shading on outdoor terraces ensures year-round comfort while reducing thermal load, and a large grove of mature trees has been preserved. The project is registered with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) – a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices – and has a goal of Silver certification.

Elevating the Consular Experience

The current average of 1,200 daily visitors is expected to increase to 2,000 over the next decade, driving much of the consular section’s layout and the overall building and site design. The new facility more than doubles the number of service windows compared to the previous consulate, improving speed, efficiency, and the customer experience. Most of the consular program is situated on the second floor, reducing the consulate’s overall footprint and offering consular visitors panoramic views through the mature Jacaranda trees. Art installations enliven both the indoor waiting area and outdoor consular garden, shaded by the building’s palapa. The glass-clad consular section, cantilevered from the floors above and below, is a prominent way finder for visitors who will have escalator and elevator access, ample service windows, and improved service times. Additionally, a dedicated visitor garage with 150 parking spaces and monitored pedestrian crossings enhances accessibility and safety.