Tuesday, October 4, 2011

headquarters, modern, outside

Completed in 1952, the UN Headquarters in NY is a space of diplomacy due to its use as a meeting place for diplomats from all nations (UN recognized of course). The space is unique not just for this use, but also due to the land's status as international territory- right in the middle of the largest city in the US. According to Vale in Architecture Power National Identity, the UN headquarters makes NY a type of "super capital"(p.15), even though it is neither the national nor the state capital. The UN is looking to expand, and there are plans to use part of the Robert Moses playground to the complex's south. The UN Development Corp. would pay NY at least $65 million for the land, which would become "alienated" (NYT Sept. 29, 2011). John D. Rockefeller donated the original land for the UN- and the lead architect was the family's personal "architectural adviser." Even though it is international territory, most state and local laws apply on UN grounds...but not all; for example, not all the city's fire and safety codes had to be met. There is NO immunity to anyone who commits a crime here, the extraterritory status mostly applies to areas where UN laws override US laws- such as immunity to prosecution in the US (unless immunity is overruled by the Secretary-General). The UN issues its own stamps.

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