UN Secretariat


Architects: United Nations Board of Design: Le Corbusier, Wallace K. Harrison, Sven Markelius, Oscar Niemeyer, Taylor, Soilleux & Overend
Developer: William Zeckendorf
Structural Engineer: Irwin Cantor & Associates, PC
Original & Current Tenant: United Nations
Height: 154 m / 544 ft
Floors: 39

The United Nations Headquarters was one of the first significant construction projects undertaken in Manhattan after the Second World War. In order to bring the UN to Manhattan, John D. Rockefeller Jr. donated the site, which he bought for 8.5 million dollars from developer William Zeckendorf, who had already assembled the former abattoir properties between First Avenue and the river piecemeal. Designed by a committee of international architects, including Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer and Sven Markelius, the United Nations Headquarters was also the first group of glass and concrete International Style buildings in Manhattan. The Secretariat, 544 feet tall and only 72 feet thick, was primarily designed by Le Corbusier but carried out by Wallace K. Harrison, the chairman of the committee; its long sides are almost entirely green glass, while its widths are concrete. The Conference Building is under construction on a platform extending out over the FDR Drive, below right. This 400-foot long, 5-story tall building was completed in February, 1952.