In conjunction with the exhibition of illustrator Carlos Diniz’s drawings of the US Embassy Moscow opening soon at Pushkin House, Tim Abrahams gives a lecture on the significance of his work. Diniz was a key pioneer in developing the specialised role of illustrator – able to create seductive images that would convince clients, planners and the public that a particular scheme created by an architect should be built. No building better exposes the gap between aspiration and reality than the US Embassy in Moscow designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architecture firm in the 1970s (completed 2000). Diniz’s illustrations capture the attempt by the design architect Charles Edward Bassett to create an idealised American community in the centre of Moscow at a time of entente. Tim Abrahams who writes about architecture for The Economist will explore where this idealised settlement emerged from and how it was confounded by the politics of the Cold War as well as urban realities.