The architect behind the UN′s green facelift | Global Ideas | DW | 26.06.2012
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Global Ideas

The architect behind the UN's green facelift

The United Nations' iconic headquarters in New York are getting an ambitious green makeover in bid to slash energy and water consumption.

The flags of the United Nations wave in front of the U.N. headquarters

It's the first major renovation of the 60-year-old headquarters

New York-born architect Michael Adlerstein, who's leading the renovation project at the UN headquarters, is no stranger to refurbishing historic landmarks. He's overseen restoration works at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty and has also served as a consultant for the renovation of the Taj Mahal in India.

In 2007 he was appointed the head of the UN’s Capital Master Plan, a nearly $2 billion project to renovate the UN headquarters in New York.

The architect Le Corbusier helped come up with the design for the 39-floor building that was completed in 1952. It was the first skyscraper in the world to be constructed with a suspended glass facade.

Now during the renovation process, the building is being cleaned and stripped, the walls are being rid of asbestos and security systems are being improved. But more importantly, the building’s energy consumption levels will be slashed by 50 percent, its CO2 emissions by 45 percent and water consumption by at least 40 percent.

The renovation will qualify the headquarters for the “Gold Standard” rating from the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership, a “very good” from the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method in the UK, an “A” score from Japan’s Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency and all top marks in Australia’s Green Star System.

Reporter: Johanna Treblin /ss
Editor: Sonia Phalnikar