United Nations Headquarters

,

New York, NY

View of the United Nations
UN Chamber
UN Chamber

Designed by an international team of architects, the iconic United Nations Headquarters complex was intended to accommodate 50 member states and approximately 700 conferences each year. Today, it houses 193 members, stages more than 8,000 meetings, and receives millions of visitors annually.

Exponential growth and time took a toll on the early 1950s complex, so the U.N. engaged EYP to provide architecture and engineering services for the comprehensive renovation of the Conference and General Assembly Buildings as well as historic preservation planning and oversight for the entire campus.

The team began by developing preservation guidelines and design standards for the 18-acre complex, including the 38-story Secretariat Building. These guidelines established an architectural language for necessary interventions and served as a comprehensive manual, prescribing restoration protocols and methodologies.

The tightly fitted historic fabric required threading new infrastructure systems, overlaying necessary security and blast protection, and reconfiguring departments and offices to offer high-quality work environments. EYP also modernized all of the U.N.’s meeting rooms, including two of the world’s most recognizable spaces: the Security Council Chamber and General Assembly Plenary Hall. The work revitalized the original circulation pattern around the latter, restoring a viewing area into a conference room. The team reconfigured the Conference Building’s lower levels, creating found space to accommodate three new conference rooms and a new lounge.

EYP also restored historic finishes and furnishings, designing new elements inspired by the original themes and materials. For example, the rehabilitation of the Trusteeship Council Chamber — a Danish Modern icon designed by Finn Juhl — exemplifies the delicate balance between renovation and restoration, preserving Juhl’s vision while accommodating today’s technology, security, and sustainability requirements.

Strategically phased to enable the U.N. to carry on its mission, this complex effort realized the United Nations’ goal of a fully revitalized, safe, 21st century facility fit to represent its global membership.

Building Facts

  • 1.6 million GSF modernization
  • 18-acre campus
  • 6 buildings

[We have] the overall impression that the refitting of the Trusteeship Council Chamber is in good hands with the design practice EYP, and that there is full appreciation of the chamber’s conservation values. [We were] positively surprised by the respect shown by the UN and EYP for this piece of Danish cultural heritage.

Blue Ribbon Design Panel Danish Government
Interior view of the UN Headquarters' lobby

Refreshing the UN's Public Spaces

EYP restored the original circulation pattern in the public lobby and hallways that welcome both diplomats and the public touring the building. Our design improves lighting, accessibility, and security in a sensitive, efficient, and economical fashion.

Rendering of a new delegates lounge at the UN Headquarters

Creating New Spaces Within A Historic Campus

EYP developed a design that rotated three large conference rooms 180-degrees, which provided adequate space to accommodate required security upgrades to the space without losing any meeting areas. In fact, it resulted in the creation of a new Delegates Lounge facing the East River in “found space.”

All EYP project team members are extremely passionate about the UN building from both an architectural standpoint and a complex problem solving point of view and it seems their skills and experience have found the perfect project.

United Nations Project Manager