Video> Michael Adlerstein & John Gering on retrofitting the United Nations Secretariat Building

The United Nations Headquarters site in Manhattan (seen here in 1985) covers approximately sixteen acres from 42nd to 48th Streets between First Avenue and the East River. Among the buildings on the premises are the marble-framed 39-storey Secretariat (to the left); the General Assembly building topped with a shallow dome; the Dag Hammarskjöld Library (to the left of the Secretariat); and the building housing the Council Chambers and Conference Rooms which lies on the river's edge. (UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata.)

The United Nations Headquarters site in Manhattan (seen here in 1985) covers approximately sixteen acres from 42nd to 48th Streets between First Avenue and the East River. (UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata.)

In addition to being AN‘s Midwest Editor, I was the special media correspondent for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in 2014, interviewing tall building designers, developers, and other experts at the skyscraper think tank’s Shanghai conference, and its annual CTBUH Awards ceremony in Chicago.

Watch the video after the jump.

On View> Shigeru Ban’s humanitarian architecture highlighted by the Dallas Center for Architecture

Architecture, On View, Southwest
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2013. (Bridgit Anderson)

Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2013. (Bridgit Anderson)

Shigeru Ban: Humanitarian Architecture
Dallas Center for Architecture
1909 Woodall Rodgers Freeway
Dallas, Texas
Through April 25

The Dallas Center for Architecture is presenting a selection of Pritzker Prize winning architect Shigeru Ban’s disaster relief designs. Ban’s humanitarian architecture has confronted some of the world’s most devastating natural and manmade cataclysms in the last 20 years. The Japanese architect is known for his pioneering designs for United Nations refugee shelters in the mid-1990s, using inexpensive and often recycled materials such as paper tubes and cardboard to make durable, shock-proof structures.

Read More

Pictorial> Inside the revamped UN Security Council Chamber

Security Council Table. (Henry Melcher / AN)

Security Council Table. (Henry Melcher / AN)

Wednesday afternoon, AN stepped inside the United Nations Security Council Chamber to see how the global institution had spruced the place up. No, we didn’t just walk in there—you can’t do that; it’s the UN. We were invited by the Royal Norwegian Consulate. Anyway, after a six-year renovation, which was part of the UN’s larger Capital Master Plan to renovate the entire East River campus, the truly awe-inspiring space has been returned to its original, mid-century glory. The chamber was gutted, upgraded, and then put back together with a few 21st Century bells and whistles thrown in—out with the ashtrays and in with the outlets!

Take a tour of the space after the jump.

UN Report: The Effects of Climate Change Will Be Catastrophic

Coal Plant in North Carolina. (Rainforest Action Network / Flickr)

Coal Plant in North Carolina. (Rainforest Action Network / Flickr)

If world leaders don’t take unprecedented action to reduce greenhouse gases, nearly all aspects of human existence will be threatened by  the “severe,” “pervasive,” and possibly “irreversible,” impacts of climate change. That’s according to a blockbuster new report by the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change, which lays out the devastating consequences of a warmer planet. The effects of climate change are already being felt, but, as the report warns, things are about to get much, much worse.

Continue reading after the jump.

Michael Bloomberg Appointed UN Climate & Cities Envoy.  Michael Bloomberg Appointed UN Climate & Cities Envoy Just one month after leaving office, Michael Bloomberg (pictured) has been appointed a United Nations special envoy for cities and climate change. According to Reuters, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Bloomberg will help “raise political will and mobilize action among cities as part of his long-term strategy to advance efforts on climate change.” The former mayor is Johannesburg, South Africa this week for the fifth biennial C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Mayors Summit. Bloomberg is the President of C40’s board, which is a “a network of the world’s megacities taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” This year’s conference is focused on creating liveable and sustainable cities. (Photo: Spencer T. Tucker )


Event> June 1-7 Benefit Screenings of One Day on Earth

Friday, June 1, 2012
From the film One Day on Earth. (Courtesy One Day on Earth/Kristina Ruzela)

From the film One Day on Earth. (Courtesy One Day on Earth/Kristina Ruzela)

One Day on Earth Benefit Screenings
June 1 to 7
The Quad Cinema
34 West 13th Street
between 5th and 6th Avenue
New York

On October 10, 2010 (10.10.10), 19,000 filmmakers around globe shot the daily life unfolding around them. Their subjects ranged from people, to plants to bugs to the heavens. Over 3,000 hours of collective footage was edited down into one hour and 45 minutes, and the result is a stunning cinematic snapshot of our world today: the rhythms of nature and life (in that 24-hour period 363,000 babies were born), quotidian human habits, and the rites of passage in different civilizations.

Continue reading after the jump.

Dutch Dream Team to Redesign United Nations Lounge

Monday, December 19, 2011
View from the bar area towards the entrance. (Courtesy OMA)

View from the bar area towards the entrance. (Courtesy OMA)

Rem Koolhaas has been thinking about the United Nations since his early Delirious New York days. Earlier this century, he even made a bid to design a new Secretariat. While that project didn’t pan out, the Dutch architect is joining a team of countrymen and women to “reconceive” the North Delegates Lounge in the Conference Building. In addition to OMA, the team will include designer Hella Jongerius, graphic designer Irma Boom, artist Gabriel Lester, and “theorist Louise Schouwenberg.”

Continue reading after the jump.

U.N., Me, and Everyone We Know

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The U.N. complex, shown in its pre-renovation state, is returning to its techno-utopian roots. (UN Photo/Lois Conner)

One might think that the $1.9 billion overhaul of the United Nations Headquarters would be a multiple-stakeholder quagmire of Ground Zero proportions. However, as Michael Adlerstein, executive director of the U.N. Capital Master Plan, put it in a fascinating April 27 presentation, the consensus-based organization actually made it easier to push major decisions through, since the “joint stepping on of many toes” allowed various U.N. members to at least feel that they were being inconvenienced equally. Read More

By UNanimous Decree, Urban is Green

Thursday, May 21, 2009

(Ezra Stoller/ESTO)

A sublime piece of modern architecture, the United Nations Headquarters is a time capsule that preserves almost intact the spirit of the 1950s. From the head sets to the tapestries, which hide the most breathtaking views of Brooklyn and the East River, everything has the air of an early James Bond movie. On May 13th, however, the UN was looking forward to pressing environmental challenges and their urban solutions, as the host of the second part of the “Conference on Sustainable Urbanization in the Information Age,” entitled “The Role of Infrastructure in Metropolitan Development.” Read More

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