by Britta Schmitz
UNITED NATIONS, March 22 2016 – The North Lawn Building (NLB) had been
standing on the grounds of the UN Headquarters between 46th and 47th Street for six
years, now it is being demolished.
Constructed as a temporary building, the NLB was built on the North Lawn from which it
got its name. This lawn will now be restored to its original design of the early 1950s.
Europa Newswire spoke with Stephen Cutts, Assistant Secretary-General for the Office of
Central Support Services.
“The NLB was built to provide swing space during the renovation of the UNHQ under
the Capital Master Plan (CMP). It opened in January 2010 and served initially as a
temporary home for the conference facilities (with the exception of the Security Council
suite, which moved to the basement of the GA Building), while the existing Conference
Building was undergoing renovation,” Cutts said.
The NLB has had multiple purposes since. Offices and conference rooms had been
displaced into the NLB while parts of the Headquarters were being renovated. In 2013 the
NLB was reconfigured to host the General Debate with high-level guests from all over
the world as the General Assembly building was under construction.
NLB – February and March 2016 – Construction Workers are all most finished with the Demolition on the North Loan Building (NLB) and renewing the area in to the Historic Look of UN Headquarters. NLB was a temporary building that housed the General Assembly the office of the Secretary General along with over 20 meeting rooms during the Capital Master Plan (CMP) constructions and Renovation of the Secretariat Building.
On the advent of its 70th anniversary in 2015 the UN renovated its Headquarters for
about 1.87 billion dollars. The renovation project is called Capital Master Plan (CMP),
renovations ended in 2014 and the Office of the CMP was closed in mid-2015. According
to Stephen Cutts, the remaining post-renovation activities, such as the final landscaping
of the North Lawn are on track for completion in late 2016.
Constructed between 1949 and 1952, the UN wanted to adapt to modern times and make
its Headquarters more modern, more sustainable and safer.
“From 2008 to 2015 the UN Headquarters underwent the most thorough renovation since
the compound was opened,” Cutts said.
The CMP will bring a 45% reduction in the UN’s carbon footprint, as CO2 emissions will
be reduced by over 23,000 tons per year compared to pre-2008 values. In order to make
the renovation process more sustainable, the UN also encouraged contractors to recycle
some parts of the NLB.
“The most direct savings will come in the form of reduced expenditures for utilities, since
the renovation of the UN Headquarters was designed to reduce energy consumption by a
minimum of 50%. An energy model is currently being established to calculate the actual
energy savings,” Cutts said.
Besides modernizing the UNHQ in terms of energy-efficiency, safety and general
functionality, the UN planned on preserving some of the Headquarters’ unique
architectural features of the 1950s.
After the complete demolition of the NLB, a process which will take a few more weeks,
the North Lawn will be restored to its original state. And not only the North Lawn will be
redesigned, the glass façade of the Secretariat Building has also undergone an interesting
“The completely new curtain wall not only performs much better in terms of energy
efficiency and security, it has also brought back the façade’s original look of 1950,” Cutts
“The North Lawn in its original design comprised a beautifully landscaped green space in
one of Manhattan’s most densely built-up neighbourhoods, offering diplomats a much
appreciated setting for informal discussions or just a walk in the park to catch some fresh
air between meetings.”
United Nations, New York, USA, February and March 2016 – Construction Workers are all most finished with the Demolition on the North Loan Building (NLB) and renewing the area in to the Historic Look of UN Headquarters. NLB was a temporary building that housed the General Assembly the office of the Secretary General along with over 20 meeting rooms during the Capital Master Plan (CMP) constructions and Renovation of the Secretariat Building.
Photo by: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire
While serving as a recreational area, the original North Lawn had another advantage. “It
was also distanced from the other buildings, which allowed the ensemble of the UN
Headquarters to stand out without distraction from adjacent structures,” Cutts said.
New plants and old artworks given by countries such as Germany and Yugoslavia are part
of the recreation plan.
“Over the years, the North Lawn has become a home for almost a dozen sculptures that
were donated to the UN by member states. Most of these sculptures had to be temporarily
relocated when the NLB was built. Over the course of summer they will be returned and
restored to their original locations, Cutts said.
UN staff and officials seem to welcome the demolition of the NLB and restoration of the
“Delegates and staff always understood that the NLB was a temporary building. It served
its purpose well, but I don’t think that many people, aside possibly from some of the
colleagues who worked there, developed a deep emotional attachment to the building.
Life at the UN will go on without it,” Cutts said. “Personally, I am very much looking
forward to seeing it replaced by the green turf of the North Lawn.”