The 58-year-old world body’s main building is getting a major face-lift. Since its opening in 1952, the United Nations skyscraper sitting on the East River has not been through a major remodeling.
Michael Adlerstein, the Assistant Secretary-General in charge of renovation, says the project is long overdue because of the deteriorated physical state of the building.
The 39-floor Secretariat is plagued with hazards such as leaking roofs, asbestos, and antiquated HVAC systems.
New York architect Michael Adlerstein is no stranger to high profile projects, as he previously renovated New York’s Statue of Liberty and consulted on the preservation of India’s Taj Mahal.
Though the UN building is being renovated and remodeled, it will not necessarily have a new modern and futuristic look. “We are going back to the old coloring of the glass that has the film on there that was done for blast protection several years ago,” he said.
In fact, the building will look more like 1952 than 2010.
“Basically the UN will look exactly as it did when the ribbon was originally cut,” said Adlerstein.
The money for the renovation comes from the member states through a special assessment separate from the regular budget of the UN.
The project, which started in 2008, is budgeted at $1.87 billion and is scheduled to finish in 2013. The money for the renovation comes from the member states through a special assessment separate from the regular budget of the UN.
Once the renovations have been completed , the building will have a hybrid heating system, new insulation, and new lighting. Assistant Secretary-General Adlerstein noted that the new construction would result in lowering the energy consumption of the UN by more than half and the water consumption by over 45%.
- Mohammad al-Kassim
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