United Nations Secretariat Building

The United Nations Secretariat Building is a 505-foot (154 m) tall skyscraper and the centerpiece of the headquarters of the United Nations, in the Turtle Bay/East Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. The lot where the building stands is considered to be under United Nations jurisdiction, although it remains geopolitically located within the United States.[3] It is the first skyscraper in New York City to use a curtain wall.[4]

United Nations Secretariat Building
UNO New York.JPG
General information
LocationInternational territory in
Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates40°44′56″N 73°58′05″W / 40.749°N 73.968°W / 40.749; -73.968Coordinates: 40°44′56″N 73°58′05″W / 40.749°N 73.968°W / 40.749; -73.968
Construction started1947; 74 years ago (1947)
Completed1952; 69 years ago (1952)
Roof505 ft (154 m)
Technical details
Floor count39
Design and construction
ArchitectOscar Niemeyer, Le Corbusier, Wallace Harrison, and others


The building was designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. One notable feature outside the building is a circular pool with a decorative fountain in its center, which was a gift from the children of the United States, paid for by small donations in schools from all across the country.[5]

The building is connected to the Conference Building (which houses the General Assembly), the Security Council, and the Dag Hammarskjöld Library. It houses the administrative functions of the UN, including day-to-day duties such as finance and translation. As part of the UN complex, the building is subject to an agreement between the United Nations and its host country, the United States.[6]


The groundbreaking ceremony for the Secretariat Building occurred on September 14, 1948.[7] A consortium of four contracting companies from Manhattan and Queens were selected to construct the Secretariat Building as part of a $30 million contract.[8]

The 39-story Secretariat Building was completed in 1950, making it the first new structure at the UN Headquarters.[5] Staff started moving in as early as August of that year and it was fully occupied by June 1951.[9][10]

The UN Secretariat Building was renovated starting in May 2010, and reopened in phases with the first occupants moving in July 2012.[11] On October 29, 2012, the basement of the UN complex was flooded due to Hurricane Sandy, leading to a three-day closure and the relocation of several offices.[12]


The building style has inspired the construction of other curtain wall buildings in Manhattan, such as Lever House, Corning Glass Building, and Springs Mills Building.[13]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Emporis - United Nations Secretariat Building
  2. ^ SkyscraperPage - United Nations Secretariat Building
  3. ^ Kelsen, H.; London Institute of World Affairs (2000). The Law of the United Nations: A Critical Analysis of Its Fundamental Problems : with Supplement. Collected Writings of Rousseau. Lawbook Exchange. p. 350. ISBN 978-1-58477-077-0. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  4. ^ Morrone, Francis (August 8, 2008). "In Midtown, Modernist Perfection in a Glass Box". Ny Sun. New York. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Truman, Harry (1951). United States Participation in the United Nations: Report by the President to the Congress for the Year ... on the Activities of the United Nations and the Participation of the United States Therein. Division of Publications, Office of Public Affairs. p. 707. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  6. ^ Agreement between the United Nations and the United States regarding the headquarters of the UN Archived June 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 2014-11-01.
  7. ^ "U.N. Breaks Ground for Its Capital; O'Dwyer Welcomes 'Plan for Peace'; BREAKING GROUND FOR UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS HERE U.N.BREAKS GROUND FOR WORLD CAPITAL" (PDF). The New York Times. September 15, 1948. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  8. ^ "4 Companies Join Forces To Construct U.N.'s Home; Group of New York's Biggest Contractors Forms New Corporation to Build the World Body's East River Skyscraper" (PDF). The New York Times. December 19, 1948. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  9. ^ "Everyman's United Nations: A Ready Reference to the Structure, Functions and Work of the United Nations and Its Related Agencies". Everyman's United Nations. United Nations Department of Public Information: 26. 1968. ISSN 0071-3244. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  10. ^ Hamilton, Thomas J. (October 10, 1953). "Work Completed on U.N. Buildings". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 4, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Storm Sandy: New York inquiry into overpricing". BBC News. November 5, 2012.
  13. ^ "Springs Mills Building" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. April 13, 2010. p. 4. Retrieved October 17, 2019.

Further readingEdit

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