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Thread: Renovation of the UN - by Fumihiko Maki with S.O.M.

  1. #196

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    As part of the renovation, should the exterior facades of all the buildings be restored? They look sorta clean to me. Also, I don't know much about the temporary 3-story building in the North Lawn.

  2. #197

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    This just started and virtually everyone in the building is rolling their eyes. The UN HQ is extremely complicated internally due to security measures. Now with partial closures it's going to be a labyrinth with a lot of detours.

    I don't know much about the process itself other than it was universally accepted that the loss of the prospect of a new building to the south was a big letdown. I'm fairly concerned about the integrity of the historic portions of the building as there are quite a few rooms designed with a worldly vision that may be lost should the changes prove to be significant. It's quite shameful that New York didn't do more to accommodate this inevitability.

    I don't think they'll be working on the exteriors since the current schedule looks like a 3 floor at a time endeavor.

  3. #198
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Don't blame all of New York for the actions of a couple stupid NY State Representatives.

    In a nutshell, those two felt the UN as a whole wasn't pro-Israel enough so they blocked them from building that tower as punishment.

    The city actually wanted to and tried their best to help them build the tower but in the end, the UN elected to go this route, which while logistically is more troublesome would involve less bureaucratic red tape overall than going the new tower route.

  4. #199
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    A $300 Million Throwaway


    By DAVID D'ARCY

    New York

    Last May the United Nations broke ground on a $300 million, 175,000-square-foot building on the North Lawn of its property on the East River, to house the Security Council, the U.N. conference organizations, the General Assembly and the organization's eclectic art collection. Yet that new structure, designed by HLW Architects LLP, is scheduled to disappear in as little as five years. It will be leveled and replaced with a lawn (and cherry trees that were uprooted) once the U.N.'s $1.9 billion in renovations to its mid-century buildings are finished in 2013. U.N. staffers will then return to the headquarters built for $35 million on donated land in 1950 and, until now, never overhauled.

    The rise and fall of the temporary structure will help the U.N. address urgent security and efficiency needs at the "workshop for peace," a term coined by the architect Wallace K. Harrison, who was on the team -- with Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier -- that designed the modernist campus more than half a century ago. The leaky walls of the Secretariat tower are green from a film applied after 9/11 to minimize shattering from a blast. The buildings are filled with asbestos (which an explosion might propel into the surrounding neighborhood) and they lack a sprinkler system. Underground machinery dates from the 1940s.

    Given the ultimate fate of the building on the North Lawn -- demolition -- it's understandable that the U.N. would describe this expensive project unflatteringly. "It's totally unarticulated recyclable-box architecture," said Michael Adlerstein, the American architect who heads the Office of the Capital Master Plan, the U.N. department managing the renovation. This temporary corrugated metal warehouse for officials and art also wasn't the U.N.'s first choice.

    In 1998, after the U.N. General Assembly's 192 members voted for the renovation, an ambitious plan for a second tower on a city playground south of the 18-acre site led to a design competition, limited to recipients of the prestigious Pritzker Prize for architecture. Fumihiko Maki of Japan won the contest and proposed a 35-story modernist column in homage to the U.N.'s iconic slab. It was anything but disposable architecture.

    The Maki building, at $330 million, was projected for completion in 2008, in time to move staff in during work on the main campus. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then-Gov. George Pataki and the Bush administration supported it, yet the "alienation" of city park land required approval from the New York State Senate, which delayed a vote in 2004. State senators cited unpaid parking tickets, the U.N. oil-for-food scandal and the Security Council's opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as reasons to block the measure. Politics killed the sleek gray tower.
    [u.n. art] David Gothard

    In 2005, Donald Trump weighed in, telling the U.S. Senate's International Security Subcommittee that the U.N. should sell its East River site and relocate to Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. Mr. Trump also proposed his own accelerated renovation of the original buildings, without moving staff off-site, for $300 million, to protect the U.N. from exploitation in seeking short-term temporary space from New York landlords -- "there is no worse human being on Earth, OK?" Yet Trump never filed a bid, U.N. officials said. Trump says he was never asked to bid, and predicts the project's costs will be $3 billion. "The whole thing is insane," he said.

    The $300 million box reflects security concerns and not an open U.N. wallet, said Mr. Adlerstein, noting a request from police that officials and diplomats work on the compound during renovation. "There's no choice," he said. The U.N. opted to keep its art collection on-site because of off-site insurance costs and the high risk of moving some 270 works. The art collection is not insured. "We're self-insured," said Mr. Adlerstein. Since the buildings opened in 1950, only four works of art have been reported missing, and a portrait of former Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim was slashed after his Nazi past was exposed in 1986.

    The art in New York falls into three categories: paintings, tapestries, and other transportable objects; massive sculptures requiring heavy machinery to move; and such immovable works as Fernand Léger's huge mural frescoes in the General Assembly hall, which will be covered with plywood and protected as renovation takes place around them. When the headquarters opened, Harry S. Truman, then president of the U.S., referred to one of Léger abstractions as "scrambled eggs."

    Most of the art addresses themes of war, peace and universal understanding. In Salvador Dalí's "Five Continents" (also called "Clasped Hands"), which Dalí donated in 1966, entwined weathered hands emerge from the Earth to support an arm that grows a rose at its elbow and a hand at each end. "Torch of Hope" by Henri Matisse is a late cut-out in black, blue and yellow that the artist donated for a Unicef greeting card. For decades, it was displayed in the outer office of the secretary-general. A Norman Rockwell dedicated by Nancy Reagan and Socialist Realist murals from the former Soviet bloc are also part of the mix. Almost all the works of art in the U.N.'s headquarters are gifts from member states. Not all those gifts are masterpieces. "We try not to insult governments, but we don't want to turn the place into a kind of junk shop," said Undersecretary-General Brian Urquhart in 1983 before the U.N. imposed a moratorium on gifts, which was lifted in the 1990s and reimposed during renovation.

    But you may need a well-connected friend to see the collection at all. Public access will be limited, probably to tours after the General Assembly meets in the temporary building in late 2011, said Mr. Adlerstein, who noted that the U.N. neither sells nor lends the art it owns.

    No matter. The most iconic objects on the U.N. campus have always been the buildings themselves -- not counting the $300 million throwaway structure, of course.

    Mr. D'Arcy writes about art and culture for the Journal.

  5. #200
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    They're already up to the second floor of that ^ temporary office building...


  6. #201
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    thanks for the pic. This temporary project is such a waste.

  7. #202

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    its necessary evil

  8. #203
    Kings County Loyal BrooklynLove's Avatar
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    The next degree of paving and digging up roads over and over again.

  9. #204
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    UN Renovation: Fun Taken Out of East River Complex

    Evelyn Leopold

    UNITED NATIONS - The bustling corridors of the United Nations are quiet. There are no lines in the cafeteria . The campus is being steadily dismantled in the 39-floor high-rise glass tower on New York's East River. And it's no longer any fun.

    Completed in 1952, the landmark skyscraper now has water dripping through its roof, asbestos lining the ceiling tiles, a shortage of sprinklers and erratic heating and cooling systems. So it was time for a $1.87 billion overhaul, the costs divided among member states, with the United States paying some 22 percent or $413 million.

    Three plans were drawn up in the past decade, each one more expensive than the last, and one is finally coming to fruition.

    The skyscraper (known as the Secretariat building) will remain and is being gutted from the inside. Meanwhile, 3,300 of the more than 5,000 people have been relocated, the remainder by the first few months of 2010.

    Many are scattered in office buildings around town while Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and top executives are migrating to a three-story $140 million new building on the north lawn of the complex. Eventually the General Assembly, the Security Council and other conference rooms will move to this building also.

    And there they will stay for three years, minimum, more likely five years.

    But the human costs are high. Undersecretaries-general who head key departments are to surround the secretary-general in the new office building. However, their staff are scattered around town, some as far as Madison Avenue, five wide city blocks away. Face-to-face interaction between those in political affairs, peacekeeping, and humanitarian affairs, for example, is limited to planned meetings.

    And the press is harbored in a library complex on the south side of the campus, a wing off the high-rise. Half have moved, including this reporter, (without TV connections or telephone but with wifi), the other half come early in 2010.

    Except for stake-outs at corridors near the Security Council, casual contacts with diplomats and UN officials are disappearing quickly; the attraction of seeing so many people of diverse nationalities in one space is gone.

    Wudda, Shudda, Cudda


    It didn't have to be this way. The first plan was to take over a little-used park near the UN on 42nd street and build an office complex on it. Once it was complete, staff would be moved in. And once the glass palace was renovated, UN agencies, such as UNICEF or the UN Development Programme, now renting expensive office space in New York, would take over the new building. But that was too logical. The plan was squashed in 2005 by the New York legislature, angry about everything.

    Then-State Senator Roy Goodman, a Republican, enlisted an array of distinguished New Yorkers, Democrat and Republican as well as Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, to support the project, the UN being the city's number one tourist attraction. But in Albany, home of one of the most dysfunctional legislatures in the country, some state senators said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had to resign first while others spoke of an anti-Israel bias. Most paid no attention.

    Inside the building things got so bad, Mayor Michael Bloomberg forbid New York schoolchildren to visit the United Nations two years ago unless new sprinkler systems and fire-proof doors were installed, many of which took place, costing millions.

    The new building will be as green as reconstruction allows. Total energy consumption is expected to be reduced by 50 per cent compared to the present. The carbon footprint will be reduced by over 45 per cent. The consumption of fresh water will be reduced by over 40 per cent. Renovation in the building's basement involves the installation of 14 kilometers of water piping, 65 kilometers of electrical conduits and more than 60 kilometers of telecommunications conduits. An equal amount of deteriorated materials are expected to be removed, representing almost a quarter of the construction activity of the entire project.

    In charge of the project, known as the Capital Master Plan, is Michael Adlerstein, a Brooklyn-born former National Park Service architect involved in the preservation of Ellis Island, the Statute of Liberty and the Taj Mahal. He told a recent news conference that the renovation "should last forever," providing there is proper maintenance every 10 to 15 years. "There are buildings that are hundreds of years old that survive very well."

    But in a place like the United Nations, renovation is not high on the agenda so it is put off for years, for decades until there is a crisis "where you have to vacate and do it wholesale," he said.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/evelyn..._b_393357.html

  10. #205
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    This about says it all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Merry View Post
    It didn't have to be this way. The first plan was to take over a little-used park near the UN on 42nd street and build an office complex on it. Once it was complete, staff would be moved in. And once the glass palace was renovated, UN agencies, such as UNICEF or the UN Development Programme, now renting expensive office space in New York, would take over the new building. But that was too logical. The plan was squashed in 2005 by the New York legislature, angry about everything.

    Then-State Senator Roy Goodman, a Republican, enlisted an array of distinguished New Yorkers, Democrat and Republican as well as Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, to support the project, the UN being the city's number one tourist attraction. But in Albany, home of one of the most dysfunctional legislatures in the country, some state senators said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had to resign first while others spoke of an anti-Israel bias. Most paid no attention.

  11. #206
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    Debt-laden Dubai offers to host U.N. headquarters

    DUBAI
    Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:25am EST




    DUBAI (Reuters) - Dubai said on Friday it has offered to host the headquarters of the United Nations should the global organization want to leave New York, a sign the Gulf emirate's ambitions remain high despite its debt problems. "The government of Dubai announces that it is fully prepared to host the U.N. headquarters on its territory in the event its officials take the decision to move from New York," the Dubai government said a statement.

    Dubai's offer comes days after an article by an academic and a real estate developer on the website of Forbes magazine called for the United Nations to relocate to Dubai.

    "Bringing the United Nations to Dubai makes sense," wrote Joel Kotkin, a fellow in urban futures at Chapman University, and Robert J. Cristiano, the California university's "real estate professional in residence."

    "New York gets rid of one of its worst welfare cheats, and Dubai finds new tenants to fill its vacant towers," they said, describing the U.N. headquarters as a "pain in the butt" which "pays no taxes and annoys hard-working New Yorkers with its sloth, pretensions and cavalier disregard for traffic laws."

    Dubai, which has gained worldwide attention for its extravagant real estate projects, left global markets reeling in November when it said it would request a standstill agreement on billions of dollars of debt.

    The global financial crisis saw many real estate projects delayed or shelved in the emirate, but construction has barely stopped and new projects are still coming on line, raising questions on how the buildings will be filled in the downturn.

    Earlier this month, Dubai's ruler inaugurated the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

    "Dubai has already built something that looks the part of a 21st-century world capital," Kotkin and Cristiano wrote.

    "Let it get a cast appropriate for its glittering set."

    © Copyright 2010 Thomson Reuters

  12. #207

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    Hilarious. These people have no grip on reality.

  13. #208
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Just a little background information on this Joel Kotkin fellow because WNY is generally not familiar with his schtick...

    He is a Californian (who surprisingly is originally from New York) that is very anti-New York and its density.

    His theory is that dense, walkable cities like New York are the wrong approach and supports suburban development more like that of Southern California.

    I think he basically would like to see the dismantling of New York and it's world renowned institutions that gives it its prestige and importance (like the U.N. for example) piece by piece so that he can say he was right in predicting the city's ultimate demise.

    The dude is sick and everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt.

  14. #209
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post

    ... Dubai's offer comes days after an article by an academic and a real estate developer on the website of Forbes magazine called for the United Nations to relocate to Dubai.

    "Bringing the United Nations to Dubai makes sense," wrote Joel Kotkin, a fellow in urban futures at Chapman University, and Robert J. Cristiano, the California university's "real estate professional in residence."
    Move The U.N. To Dubai

    FORBES
    Joel Kotkin and Robert J. Cristiano
    January 12, 2010

    The opening last week of the world's tallest building, the half-mile-high Burj Dubai, has largely been greeted with guffaws and groans. The Daily Telegraph labeled it "the new pinnacle of vanity" -- "a purposeless monument to the subprime era." The Wall Street Journal compared it to the Tower of Babel. (When the Empire State Building was completed in 1931, in the throes of the greatest financial crisis of the 20th century, it was met with similar jeers. The then-tallest building in the world was called the Empty State Building, and it remained vacant for several years.)

    Yet the Burj's completion -- indeed the whole wild enterprise known as Dubai -- could signal a potential opportunity to the global community: turning the place into the headquarters for that other misguided ship, the United Nations.

    Let's spell out the logic. The United Nations is a pain in the butt. It pays no taxes and annoys hard-working New Yorkers with its sloth, pretensions and cavalier disregard for traffic laws. The place is a sinkhole dominated by anti-American, anti-Semitic and authoritarian fantasies. It is far from the elegant crown jewel that celebrated the U.S.'s global ascendancy after the Second World War.

    Today the U.N. building is a mostly empty shell -- water dripping through its roof, asbestos lining its ceiling and an erratic heating and cooling system have forced most UN workers to new facilities. The building is in the midst of a $1.87 billion overhaul -- of which the U.S., which could use the cash for myriad other things, would be on the hook for $437 million.

    And the U.N. may be leaving anyway. A relocation committee has recommended that the organization move temporarily to Singapore by 2015. It will be hard to vacate Asia again for New York, which is far away from the bulk of the world's largest population centers.

    Singapore might make a fine world capital, since it does work like a fine watch. But it's already crowded, expensive and highly regulated. You have to wonder if hard-working, rational Singaporeans would want to drive up costs and lose their ability to run things as they see fit to accommodate the U.N. bureaucracy.

    In contrast, the al-Maktoum family has transformed a once vast, empty landscape into a Star Wars-like capital city of the future. There is no skyline more arresting than the one built over the past 15 years by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Absolute Ruler of the tiny Emirate. In just 500 square miles, about half the size of Orange County, Calif., the sheikh has created a monument to modern architectural engineering.

    Sheikh Mohammed could offer to build a United Nations City to house the U.N. in any number of vacant office towers. Business Bay has 65 million square feet of office space under construction in more than 200 high-rises. Dubai already has thousands of newly constructed apartments that await the international delegates. More than 2 billion people in Africa, Europe and Asia are within a six-hour flight from Dubai. Travel connections through the world's largest airport would be a breeze. Dubai has 55 five-star hotels to accommodate every regal and royal delegation, as well as the Harvard Medical School Dubai Center, a $1,400,000,000 facility branded with the Harvard crest, just in case one of the U.N.'s elite workers breaks a gasket.

    Questions of taste and timing aside, you have to admire the sheikh's chutzpah. The al-Maktoums, descendants of the Bani Yas clan, have ruled Dubai since 1833, first under the protection of the British. The United Arab Emirates was founded in 1971 with big brother Abu Dhabi, the emirate with 96% of the confederation's oil reserves.

    Like New York, Dubai aimed first to be a capital of capital. Recognizing that oil revenues at $70 a barrel brought immense cash flow to the Persian Gulf, Sheikh Mohammed set out to create a setting where Arab pride and excess oil revenues could be comfortably parked. His boldness caught the attention of the world financial community and soon the tiny emirate employed more construction cranes than any site on Earth.

    For now flying so close to the sun has resulted in a painful and somewhat humiliating fall. With the financial market collapse of 2008 to 2009 international buyers disappeared and property values plummeted. Half of the $300 billion in construction projects screeched to a halt. The Dubai government, with $80 billion to $100 billion of debt, was in trouble, and Dubai World, its investment arm, announced suspension of interest payments on its loans. Enter Abu Dhabi. The neighboring emirate wrote kid brother Dubai a check for $25 billion. What does $25 billion get you in 2010? On Jan. 4, at the grand opening of the Burj Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed announced that the tower would forever be known as Burj Khalifa, named after the Emir of Abu Dhabi.

    Let's look a bit longer term. Right now there's 33.6 million square feet of mostly state-of-the-art office space in Dubai. More than 8 million square feet is vacant with millions more in the pipeline. There's a great airport -- as opposed to that aerial dumpster, JFK -- that is hours closer to the emerging economic powers of the new century, notably the oil states, India and China. The workforce is skilled and open to foreigners, since the vast majority are foreigners. In Dubai 83% of the 2.2 million residents are from somewhere else. Talk about cosmopolitan.

    But how about New York? "Moving the U.N. to Dubai would be a boon for New Yorkers who have to put up with traffic jams created by the likes of Colonel Qaddafi, scofflaws protected by diplomatic immunity and the loss of real estate revenue they would gain if the U.N. building were turned into something far more useful -- condos with a view," suggests urban historian Fred Siegel, a visiting professor at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn and a fellow at New York's Manhattan Institute.

    Liberating New York from the United Nations, in fact, would open up some of the best situated real estate in the world. A treasure trove of great apartments and offices right along the East River would suddenly become available, bringing a potential revenue windfall to New York City, which could use it. None of this would threaten the city's -- or the country's -- economic and political status. That grows out of economic and military power, which the U.N. does little or nothing to augment.

    What would Dubai get? It's an ideal opportunity to refurbish its tarnished image on the world stage in a way that plays to its infrastructural and geographical advantages. The Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean are increasingly the focal point of the world economic and political systems. Some of the biggest challenges facing the U.N. are concentrated in the south in Somalia and Yemen, to the west in Israel and Palestine, and to nearby Iran and Pakistan. Dubai would have to reconcile itself to a permanent Israeli presence, but that may not be as difficult as many think. Jews, and even Israelis, do business today in Dubai with perhaps less worry about running into manifestations of anti-Semitism than in London or Paris.

    Bringing the United Nations to Dubai makes sense. New York gets rid of one of its worst welfare cheats, and Dubai finds new tenants to fill its vacant towers. Dubai has already built something that looks the part of a 21st-century world capital. Let it get a cast appropriate for its glittering set.

    Joel Kotkin is a distinguished presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University. He is also an adjunct fellow at the Legatum Institute in London and serves as executive editor of newgeography.com. He writes the weekly New Geographer column for Forbes. His next book, The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050, will be published by Penguin in February 2010. Coauthor Robert J. Cristiano Ph.D. is a successful real estate developer and the Real Estate Professional in Residence at Chapman University in Orange, Calif.

    (C) 2010 Forbes.com LLC

  15. #210
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    I know the ESB wasn't an immediate success, but is this statement from Kotkin / Cristiano true?

    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post

    ... When the Empire State Building was completed in 1931, in the throes of the greatest financial crisis of the 20th century, it was met with similar jeers. The then-tallest building in the world was called the Empty State Building, and it remained vacant for several years ...
    Mr. Kotkin also has his own website.

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