Open main menu

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, located 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
Roof505 ft (154 m)
Technical details
Floor count39
Design and construction
ArchitectOscar Niemeyer, Le Corbusier, Wallace Harrison, and others


The groundbreaking ceremony for the Secretariat Building occurred on September 14, 1948.[5] A consortium of four contracting companies from Manhattan and Queens were selected to construct the Secretariat Building as part of a $30 million contract.[6]

The Secretariat Building has 39 stories and was completed in 1952.[7] The building was designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. This building is connected to the Conference Building to the north that houses the General Assembly, the Security Council, among others, and a library building to the south. The building 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.[8]

The UN Secretariat Building was renovated, starting in May 2010, and reopened via phased reoccupancy with the first occupants moving in July 2012.[9]

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.[10]


The building style has inspired some notable copies, including the Headquarters of South Lanarkshire Council in Hamilton, Scotland, known locally as the "County Buildings".[citation needed] It also inspired the construction of other curtain wall buildings in Manhattan, such as the Lever House, Corning Glass Building, and Springs Mills Building.[11]


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. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ Hamilton, Thomas J. (October 10, 1953). "Work Completed on U.N. Buildings". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 4, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Storm Sandy: New York inquiry into overpricing". BBC News. November 5, 2012.
  11. ^ "Springs Mills Building" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. April 13, 2010. p. 4. Retrieved October 17, 2019.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit