Thursday, April 06, 2006

The UN Headquarters

Did you know that in 1946, when the UN was first being formed, the initial thought was to create a sort of independent city-state for it headquarters? Get a peice of ground several miles on each side and put up a city with residences for something like 40,000 people! They considered several huge sites, including the Presidio in San Francisco for it, before George Lucas took it over.

Isn't that interesting?

Then some guy died and plans fell through and Mr. Junior offered the riverside lot in New York City with space just for assembly rooms and administrative offices and voila, the UN we know and love.

I found this out from architect Le Corbusier's book about the process, complete with napkinlike sketches, such as the one below. Frank Lloyd Wright said about Corbu something like, “[Oh, now he's gone and built something. I suppose he'll write 3 books about it now.]”

(I flipped it so it would say "UN"!)

It is truly a beautiful building. I watched Sydney Pollock's The Interpreter 4 times last weekend. It was filmed at the UN and offers many shots of its captivating design, especially if you luxuriate over them frame-by-frame on the DVD. But the new giant video screens completely ruin the impressiveness of the front of the General Assembly room. They're like a goofy airplane's wings. Compare the before and after:




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