A Portland company has been hired to oversee the final stages of construction on a high-tech and highly secure new U.S. embassy near Oslo, Norway.

Tilson, which provides information technology services and network infrastructure, began its work on the $228 million embassy project in January, said company CEO Joshua Broder. When completed, the five-building embassy campus will incorporate cutting-edge information technology and advanced security into structures that are designed to be environmentally sustainable and aesthetically pleasing to the Norwegian eye.

“All those things sort of come together on the tail end of the project,” Broder said.

Tilson, which specializes in technologically complex projects, was chosen by the embassy’s lead contractor, Chicago-based Walsh Global LLC. Broder declined to specify the value of Tilson’s contract, but he said it involves 12 American workers and is expected to take about a year.

It is the first embassy Tilson has worked on, but Broder said he assembled a team of experts for the project with extensive backgrounds in embassy construction work.

Cumberland resident James Rice, Tilson’s director of federal construction, led a group that completed security upgrades at 40 U.S. embassies in the wake of the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Rice has both civil engineering and economics degrees from the University of Maine in Orono.

“It’s great when a Maine business can make a worldwide impact,” Broder said.

Building an embassy isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap.

In 2011, after years of complaints by government leaders that American embassies were too ugly and imperial-looking, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations issued a new list of guiding principles.

It begins, “Purpose and Function: Embassies and consulates have two essential purposes: to be safe and functional and inspiring places for the conduct of diplomacy and to physically represent the U.S. government to the host nation. A facility that represents the best of American architecture, design, engineering and construction will be an appropriate workspace, and will also be contextually appropriate and become a respected landmark – representing the best of American government, enterprise and culture – in the host nation.”

As if those requirements weren’t challenging enough, an embassy also has to be structurally capable of withstanding a variety of attacks, including bombings. In essence, it must be an elegant fortress.

“An embassy is a really complicated building,” Broder said.

The new embassy in Norway was designed by Albany, New York-based EYP Architecture & Engineering. When completed, it will include a chancery, an underground support annex, three entry pavilions and Marine security guard quarters. It will accommodate roughly 200 employees.

The materials to be used for the embassy’s exterior were chosen to be symbolic and meaningful from the standpoint of U.S.-Norway relations.

According to the embassy’s website, it will incorporate elements of traditional Norwegian building design, along with some traditional materials, such as white Norwegian granite on the main facade.

“The work will preserve many of the area’s mature trees and the stream flowing through the site, and will include a copper roof, as a reminder of the Norwegian copper used in the Statue of Liberty in New York,” it says.

Broder said the building also will be energy-efficient and will qualify for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard.

Some embassy projects have come under fire in recent years for their high cost. For example, the new U.S. embassy in London, set to open in 2017, is expected to cost $1 billion and will be covered on all four sides with 6-inch-thick, blast-proof glass.

The Norwegian embassy project began in 2012 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.