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News September 2015

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As UN HQ restoration nears completion, Modern interiors are sacrificed for security

September 19, 2015

The United Nations Headquarters (1947-1950) is nearing the end of a seven year, $2.15 billion restoration. Many changes were made with minimal or no impact on the site’s original design, which was a collaboration between Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer, and the firm Harrison & Abramowitz. Much of the work has been sensitively done and has made the building more efficient, secure, and accessible. However, security concerns have led to the closing of parts of the complex’s south side, including the Dag Hammarskjold library, an auditorium, and cafeteria. Their future is unclear. A slideshow highlights these interior spaces before and after their interior contents were emptied. An in-depth look at the site’s overhaul, The United Nations at 70: Restoration and Renewal, will be published by Rizzoli this October.

Woodrow Wilson Reading Room at the Dag Hammarskjold Library prior to restoration. Photo by Ben Murphy for The U.N. Building (Thames & Hudson, 2005)