The U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, makes only the quietest of claims within the city's noisy new business district. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), its seven low-rise buildings—offices, screening facilities, a warehouse, and a residence for Marines—dot a 7.4-acre site in the burgeoning Pearl River New Town. Zaha Hadid's opera house lies catercorner to it, and Wilkinson Eyre's supertall IFC Guangzhou and KPF's soon-to-be-supertaller CTF Guangzhou are close by. China's tallest structure, the Canton Tower, for telecommunications equipment, looms across the river. The consulate—built with a warm palette of stone, wood, glass, and weathering steel—is, by comparison, subdued.