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Old November 19th, 2008, 01:35 PM   #1
cornish pasty
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NEW YORK | United Nations Secretariat Building | 154m | 506ft | 39 fl | Com

UN Headquarters renovation project proceeding on schedule, report says

24 October 2008 – The five-year, $1.9 billion renovation designed to make the landmark United Nations Headquarters Complex in New York more modern, safe and sustainable is proceeding on schedule, according to an update on the status of the project released today.

All leases for swing space have been concluded, work is progressing well on the temporary North Lawn Conference Building, and the planning for the relocation of some 6,000 staff has been finalized, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon writes in his latest report to the General Assembly on the project, known as the Capital Master Plan (CMP).

The required office swing space is being provided at three leased locations, two in Manhattan and one in Long Island City. The relocation of departments and offices to off-site office space is currently scheduled to begin in late 2008 and to continue to mid-2009.

The progress cited is in line with the accelerated strategy approved by the Assembly in December 2007, which is expected to result in the completion of the project by 2013 and with less disruption than the previous plan.

In addition, significant headway has been achieved in the design of the project, taking into account the changes resulting from the accelerated strategy and the value engineering exercise, as well as those related to blast protection.

The updated design also incorporates measures that will reduce energy consumption at Headquarters by 44 per cent, including an improved heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.

At the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of temporary conference venue in May, Mr. Ban pledged to make the complex “a model of environmental stewardship” by reducing the UN’s electrical and water usage and by removing harmful materials that were used in the original construction.

Regarding the budget of the project, Mr. Ban states in his report that “the expenses already incurred as well as the rents that are firmly committed through the duration of the project totalled approximately $187.9 million as at July 2008.

“When the projected costs for the remainder of the project are added, the cost of the Capital Master Plan is closer to the amount budgeted than at the time of the preparation of the fifth progress report and is still on schedule.”


http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=28705

Last edited by cornish pasty; November 19th, 2008 at 08:22 PM.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 01:35 PM   #2
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Construction of the temporary building on the North Lawn

31 October 2008





Images: UN Photo
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Old November 20th, 2008, 06:31 PM   #3
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i like tha united nations ...
that building looks simple, but maybe that is what make it look amazing..
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Old November 30th, 2008, 12:19 AM   #4
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Renovating the U.N., With Hints of Green
The New York Times, 21 November 2008

UNITED NATIONS — Michael Adlerstein, the man leading the complex project to restore the United Nations headquarters, stood in the visitors’ lobby recently explaining why it is considered one of the building’s signature rooms.

Those unadorned gold columns along the front entrance? A stark design that was considered outrageously simple when it was unveiled around 1950, along with the streamlined concrete balconies and industrial bridge supporting the wide staircase. The columns faintly echo parliament buildings all over the world, which in turn hark back to classical temples.

The visible air-conditioning ducts at neck-craning distance overhead, the blue paint peeling and drifting like snowflakes to the lobby floor? Their exposure is also a Modern touch that has since become commonplace.

That long brown abstract rendering that dominates one 50-foot stretch of white wall? Not another piece of bad art foisted on the organization by one of its member states, something of a hallowed United Nations tradition, but an unsightly water stain from a leak.

Beginning early next year, all 5,000 people working in the United Nations Secretariat will start shifting to scattered temporary offices, mostly in Midtown, while the headquarters in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan undergoes a five-year, nearly $2 billion renovation. After it is emptied, the building, one of the most visited in New York City, will be gutted.

Planning for the reconstruction included deciding which parts of the 39-story building’s art and architecture were worth preserving, the benchmark being what the world identifies with the United Nations. The basic plan is to strip the building down to the pure, flat surfaces that made it innovative when it opened, while replacing the outdated innards like air-conditioning, lighting, wiring and plumbing.

“What we are going to straighten out with this renovation are the accretions of 60 years of the building being used without the right discipline,” said Mr. Adlerstein, a Brooklyn-born architect who has previously tackled historic sites like Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. “We will bring out some of the details that were lost.”

As he walked around the first four floors of the building, the most public spaces, he pointed out materials — brushed stainless steel, vinyl, Formica — considered magically new when the Secretariat was inaugurated in 1952.

The steel elevator banks with the call-button panels featuring the United Nations logo will stay, albeit spruced up, as will the vinyl seats around the Security Council table, with their baby blue color signaling that they are for members.

“There are wonderful little things that get into people’s minds that we will respect,” Mr. Adlerstein said. “It’s an old hat that everyone puts on every day. It feels right.”

Other things that should not have penetrated people’s minds and bodies will be stripped out, namely asbestos. The building is infested with the stuff, used behind nearly every wall as insulation and fireproofing. “They spread it around like mayonnaise,” Mr. Adlerstein said of the original builders.

Another goal of the renovation is to make the building far more green, reducing its energy consumption by 44 percent. For example, the famous outer wall, a glass curtain, was considered wildly modern for its time, with all the superstructure hidden behind it. Now, even with the windows firmly shut, the interior curtains flutter in the breeze from the East River.

The new glass will not only be more efficient — interspersed with photovoltaic cells that will turn sunlight into energy — but also more secure. The windows will no longer open. An impermeable wall of the latest glass can bend as much as 10 inches in the face of a large explosion — a feature considered a must in an era when some United Nations offices around the world have been targets of suicide bombers.

Basically there are three different levels of renovation. The first includes those character-defining elements of the building that will not change physically at all, like the General Assembly and the Security Council chamber. But they will get better, energy-efficient lighting and an air-conditioning system that will pump air out of the floor instead of the ceiling, again making the space more efficient and cheaper.

Then there are design elements that will stay, like the curved interior walls designed by Oscar Niemeyer of Brazil, which echo his trademark glazed-exterior wall of the General Assembly facing First Avenue. (Legend has it that he also wanted a simple curved roof, but the Vermont senator serving as the first chief of the United States Mission said that Congress would approve the budget much faster if he put a dome on it so American legislators could easily recognize it as an assembly hall.)

The most radical renovations will take place in the upper stories, which the public never sees. Most of the office walls will be ripped out and the floors re-created using an open pod system, which will be much easier to reconfigure, given the constant shifting of employees. The various buildings on the campus will be tackled in stages.

Wallace Harrison, the architect for the Rockefellers, did much of the final design, based on concepts envisioned by an international dream team of architects, including Le Corbusier and Mr. Niemeyer. Le Corbusier conceived what many architects consider the building’s best-known element: the thin slab towering over the river, all the more striking than most New York skyscrapers because it stood so alone.

“It is really a monument,” said Jean-Louis Cohen, a French architect who teaches architectural history at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. Not that it didn’t have detractors. Writing in The New Yorker, the critic Lewis Mumford called it “a climax of formal purity and functional inadequacy.”

The organization has always struggled with a lack of space. The complex was designed to accommodate 75 member states and 700 conferences each year, but it has grown to 192 members and stages some 8,000 meetings annually.

Aside from the physical building, the restoration project also involves the art, much of which will be used to spruce up the prefabricated three-story structure rising on the north lawn that will house the secretary general and his staff. Because tourists will not be allowed into the main building during reconstruction, the art is supposed to serve as the substitute attraction.

Some donations are considered eyesores, some minor embarrassments — like the priapic sculpture of a bull elephant near the north fence, his majestic anatomy safely hidden by a thick hedge the height of his stomach. There has been a moratorium on new gifts during the renovation.

Large items affixed to the walls of the Secretariat will be encased in their own structures with heating and air-conditioning while the rest of the interior is exposed to the elements. These include a third-century mosaic floor from Tunisia and two large murals by the Cubist artist Fernand Léger, who was eventually barred from the United States for his association with the Communist Party. President Truman, on first spotting the murals, is said to have commented that one looked like a bunny coming out of a hat, and another a fried egg.

Like many United Nations projects, the renovation has been dogged by escalating costs and whiffs of scandal over some contractors. The estimated price tag has risen to $1.9 billion, from $1.1 billion, as the project has faced repeated delays since being approved in 2002. Member countries are being assessed a fee that matches the percentage of their annual contribution to the operating budget.

The renovation can only bring so much change. Knowing that members have been haggling over expanding the Security Council beyond its 5 permanent and 10 rotating members, Mr. Adlerstein wondered if he should perhaps create a bigger table with more seats.

The idea was rejected — architecture will not drive policy, officials said. He added that he was told that the room would just have to be renovated again if the members ever reach an agreement.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/22/ar...gn/22nati.html
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Old January 9th, 2009, 11:11 PM   #5
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Construction workers erect the steel frame of the temporary North Lawn Building, to be used as a swing space for the General Assembly, conference facilities, and for the Secretary-General and his immediate staff during the renovation of the United Nations Headquarters under the Capital Master Plan.

December 2008







Images: UN Photo

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Old February 10th, 2009, 08:30 PM   #6
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Renovation plan will result in major ‘greening’ of UN complex, says official

2 February 2009 – The renovation project designed to make United Nations Headquarters in New York more modern, safe and sustainable will result in a significant “greening” of the landmark complex that will reduce energy consumption and operating costs, as well as lower the world body’s carbon footprint, the official in charge of the overhaul said today.

“The environmental performance of the Headquarters complex will be significantly improved upon completion of the Capital Master Plan,” Michael Adlerstein, Executive Director of the five-year, $1.9 billion project, told a news conference in New York.

“We’ll reduce energy consumption by a projected 44 per cent as compared to existing conditions,” he noted. “This is an improvement over the 40 per cent figure reported last year.”

The reduction in energy consumption will be achieved through design initiatives in two key areas, Mr. Adlerstein reported. The first involves improving the building “envelope,” including by replacing the existing single glazed curtain wall on the exterior of the Secretariat building with a new, high performance double glazed curtain wall.

This also involves installing automated interior shades and blinds to control heat gain and maximize the use of natural light. In addition, new insulation and other energy-conserving measures will be installed on roofs and exterior walls to reduce the heat transfer in both summer and winter. As a result, “our building envelope will leak less energy,” he stated.

The second area of energy efficiency incorporates significant efforts to improve the heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, as well as installing a sophisticated building management system which will automate the central controls of the building’s “antique” thermostat system.

“The combination of a more secure building envelope and a higher technology heating and air conditioning system will save operating costs and lower our carbon footprint for decades,” said Mr. Adlerstein.

The sustainability measures also include “dramatically” more efficient lighting systems, as well as a daylight harvesting system which will automatically control artificial light levels in response to natural light levels.

Mr. Adlerstein stressed that the project is on schedule and will be completed as planned in 2013, adding that he is confident the project will be finished within the approved budget.

“We’re making great progress on the temporary North Lawn building, the fit-out of our other swing spaces and the procurement tasks in support of the project,” he noted.

It is expected that by the conclusion of the next general debate of the General Assembly in September, the temporary building will be completed and the Secretary-General, his staff and the functions of the conference building will move into it.

Meanwhile, the floors in all three leased swing space locations, two in Manhattan and one in Long Island City, are being fitted out while some last minute designs are being finalized.

While a small number of staff have already moved out of the complex, the bulk of the moves are slated to peak from June to August of this year, when it is least disruptive to the work of the Organization.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.as...en&Cr1=economy
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Old February 11th, 2009, 01:29 AM   #7
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It will look great, I've been there for a while.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 02:23 AM   #8
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They should build a new supertall for the UN and leave the old build as is. There nothing wrong with what they're doing. I'm just saying do them one better.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 06:54 AM   #9
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I think the UN really deserves the renovation, but for US$1.9 billion I'd expect more than what they describe. It is the cost of a brand-new building, after all, following all the standards for sustainability currently implemented in more modern constructions. Here in São Paulo/Brazil a building with this technology has recently been purchased for US$400 million, approximately, and it's a 40-story massive building (WTorre JK, may be easily found in the Brazilian forums). Well, at least it shows how serious they are with the environment, and in the heart of the US.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 07:37 AM   #10
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It was built in 1950 so I'm sure there is alot of upgrands that need to be made.
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Old February 14th, 2009, 12:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gutovsky View Post
I think the UN really deserves the renovation, but for US$1.9 billion I'd expect more than what they describe. It is the cost of a brand-new building, after all, following all the standards for sustainability currently implemented in more modern constructions. Here in São Paulo/Brazil a building with this technology has recently been purchased for US$400 million, approximately, and it's a 40-story massive building (WTorre JK, may be easily found in the Brazilian forums). Well, at least it shows how serious they are with the environment, and in the heart of the US.
The building is basically being rebuilt - the interior will be completely gutted, floorplans redesigned and the exterior glass replaced, entirely new wiring, air conditioning, plumbing, etc. That's why it's so expensive, simply because there is so much work that needs to be done.
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Old February 14th, 2009, 04:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornish pasty View Post
The building is basically being rebuilt - the interior will be completely gutted, floorplans redesigned and the exterior glass replaced, entirely new wiring, air conditioning, plumbing, etc. That's why it's so expensive, simply because there is so much work that needs to be done.
I don't know, I think they should have saved the donated artwork and built something totally new. 1.9 billion dollars can go along way. Not that I hate the 1950's architecture, but is it really worth saving? Are we going to look back 25 years from now and say this was a good investment? I mean the artwork by the Cuban artist in the UN chamber is gross looking, and they're going to be preserving it in its own climate controlled glass casing. And they're saving the vinyl blue chairs in the chamber?? Why not give dignitaries something more comfortable to sit in.

They wouldn't need to build a fortress, just something that's modern and recognizable to the world. I'm going to laugh one day if this becomes some iconic complex solely because it's the only building in the world with vintage 1950's American architecture.
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Old February 14th, 2009, 08:47 AM   #13
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is the UN paying for this?
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Old February 14th, 2009, 07:43 PM   #14
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is the UN paying for this?
I think payment is being divided up based on each member’s annual UN budget. Meaning the US is probably paying for most of it and all the other countries are pitching in to help...

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Old February 14th, 2009, 08:51 PM   #15
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For the pricetag they could have just built a completely new building and incorporated some of the old materials worth saving in the new building.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 04:47 PM   #16
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UN says staff needn't worry about asbestos removal

UNITED NATIONS, April 17 (Reuters) - The United Nations sought to reassure its increasingly nervous staff on Friday, saying that the removal of toxic asbestos during a major renovation project at U.N. headquarters would be done safely.

"In addition to the company that will be performing the asbestos abatement, we will have another independent group that will monitor how the abatement process is carried out, and ... try to ensure that it's done in a safe manner," U.N. spokesman Farhaq Haq told reporters.

Haq was responding to concerns about the removal of the cancer-causing flame-retardant asbestos lining the ceiling tiles of the U.N. building raised by Stephen Kisambira, president of the U.N. staff union, during a rare news conference on Thursday.

Kisambira said many people working at U.N. headquarters were worried about the $2 billion renovation project, intended to make the blue-green tinted 40-story building along Manhattan's East River safer, more comfortable and greener.

Skanska USA Building, a unit of Nordic building firm Skanska, is the construction manager and will be overseeing the asbestos removal. Haq said ATC Associates, an independent environmental engineering, health and safety specialist, will be monitoring the process.

New York architect Michael Adlerstein, who is overseeing the renovation of the United Nations, gave further details on the work that ATC would be doing.

As a certified independent consultant it would be "taking air samples several times a day at prescribed locations inside and outside the work area," he told Reuters in an e-mail.

But Kisambira said he still has concerns, partly because of doubts raised by ongoing legal action involving allegations of negligence on the part of Skanska during the removal of asbestos from a courthouse in Salinas, California, in 2005-06.

'NO MERIT'

When asked about the case, Adlerstein said that "all charges were dismissed in 2007." But Skanska spokeswoman Jessica Murray acknowledged that nearly 200 personal injury lawsuits related to the courthouse case were still pending.

"Individuals who worked in the courthouse asserted claims against Skanska, the county's program manager and others, alleging a negligent release of asbestos in connection with the courthouse renovation," Murray said.

"The claims against Skanska have no merit and Skanska is vigorously defending against them," she added.

Adlerstein did not comment on the lawsuits.

Kisambira said the Salinas case was one of the reasons people working at U.N. headquarters were nervous.

"It's a dangerous situation," he told Reuters. "They're playing with the lives of all of us."

Another problem, Kisambira said, is that contractors removing the asbestos cannot be sued in case of accidents because of the special legal status of the United Nations, which is technically not U.S. territory.

Adlerstein acknowledged that they could not be sued.

"In case of disputes, arbitration will be sought, rather than to revert to formal litigation," he said. "This has been the practice since the founding of the U.N. and its aim is to protect the U.N., not the vendor."
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Old May 15th, 2009, 05:09 AM   #17
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About that North Lawn Building, its completion date is unknown but it should be completed in 2010 so reconstruction of the headquarters could begin. And every building in the UN HQ should be stripped to their skeletons and their facades replaced.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 04:13 PM   #18
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I think the UN should have been relocated to the southern end of Rooservelt Is......an independant area surrounded by water....quite symbolic and just across from the current location. A spectacular footbridge could have linked the two structures.....
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Old May 20th, 2009, 01:49 PM   #19
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I think the UN should have been relocated to the southern end of Rooservelt Is......an independant area surrounded by water....quite symbolic and just across from the current location. A spectacular footbridge could have linked the two structures.....
I have always thought that would make a great expansion
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 03:34 AM   #20
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Anyone have a render of the proposals?
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