$1.9B rehab aims to change UN’s “closed culture”

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The first phase of renovations for the 59-year-old, 2.6 million-square-foot United Nations complex is complete, and once the six buildings reopen in 2013, the new open-office layout could test the “closed culture” its ambassadors are used to, said Michael Adlerstein, assistant secretary general of the U.N., on a panel last night at the Ford Foundation. According to Crain’s, the building has seen few changes since it opened in 1951 with just 50 nation states as members and offices that were mostly enclosed by floor-to-ceiling walls. The $1.9 billion renovation project, designed by HLW International, will open up the space, replace its green-glass curtain wall, and make the complex 50 percent more energy efficient. The buildings are “35 years beyond their normal lifespan,” said HLW architect John Gering, and lack sprinklers and smoke detectors. [Crain’s]

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