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UN Temporary North Lawn Building
Photo by: Luiz Rampelotto
United Nations, January 11 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today snipped a blue ribbon to inaugurate a temporary new building to house the General Assembly and a large number of United Nations staff members as the world body’s New York Headquarters undergoes renovations.
The new three-storey, $140-million structure sits on the UN compound’s North Lawn, and will serve as the home base to the 192-member Assembly as the landmark 39-storey Secretariat building towering over the East River and First Avenue in Manhattan is overhauled.
After the ribbon cutting Ban said that “the most important part of any building is what brings it to life: people” and told the gathered delegates, officials and UN staff that “this is your building, this is our work and let us begin.”
The temporary structure, Capital Master Plan (CMP) Executive Director Michael Adlerstein said at today’s ceremony “is a significant step forwards” towards the goals of making the UN Headquarters “more modern, more energy efficient and safer”. He added that although the building was designed to be temporary “it was also conceived to be a highly functional, cost effective home for some of the office space and conferencing functions of the United Nations.”
Also this morning, the Secretary-General held a town hall meeting with staff at one of the new conference rooms. He told staff that the Secretariat Building will be missed most of all for “that feeling of UN pride we felt the moment we walked through those doors” which – he added – must be preserved “wherever we go and wherever we are.”
Construction of the Temporary North Lawn Building (TNLB) began on May 2008; the original UN Headquarters complex on the banks of the East River was designed by a multinational team of architects led by Le Corbusier, and had undergone only minor changes since its completion in 1950.
Prior to its completion, the UN was headquartered at a temporary location in Lake Success, New York.
The current renovation is expected to take up to seven years. So far, almost 4,600 UN Headquarters occupants have moved to swing space offices. At the end of the first quarter of 2010 the entire Secretariat Building will be empty.
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