United Nations Headquarters Facades



Cladding Area480 000 sq ft


OwnerUnited Nations Capital Master Plan

Project type

Phase of InvolvementDesign

Type of Construction

Year of Completion2015


Nestled along the East River in New York City, the United Nations Headquarters has long been admired as the physical embodiment of global diplomacy and collaboration. Designed in 1947 by a collaborative team of esteemed architects including Le Corbusier, Wallace K. Harrison, and Oscar Niemeyer, the 17-acre campus is an icon of International Style architecture. Serving as both Design Architect and Specialist Consultant for the facade replacement, Heintges & Associates was tasked with restoring the integrity of the facades for all six of the campus buildings. To date, construction has been completed on four: the Secretariat, General Assembly, Conference, and North Lawn Building.

The original 39-story Secretariat tower had a revolutionary all-glass curtain wall design that was the first of its kind on a tower, and has stood as a precedent for other curtain wall skyscrapers. But after years of wear and tear, its wall assemblies were failing. Heintges & Associates conducted extensive testing to replicate the visual appearance of the original facades, replacing them with faithful representations that also meet modern standards for security and sustainability.

At the General Assembly building, Heintges & Associates worked to develop a micro-patterned glass to replicate the surface texture of the original product. This patterned glass was combined with acid etching and custom-patterned ceramic frits to replicate the original grid densities. The renovation of the Conference Building required close coordination to accommodate its five bespoke curtain wall types, including a long-span canted curtain wall with integral door portals.

Heintges served as Architect of Record and facade consultant during all phases of design and construction. The firm was awarded the US 2016 Modernism in America, Citation of Technical Achievement Award, and the The Preservation League of New York State’s 2016 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award for the facade renovation of the U.N. Campus.









Photographs 1, 6, & 8 by Whitney Starbuck Boykin; Photographs 2-3 by Woodruff/Brown; Photographs 4, 5, 7, 9, 10 by Heintges.