It is the most expensive renovation of a public building ever: It cost $2.15 billion to update the U.N. headquarters in New York, which opened in 1952. The building complex with the world-famous green-blue shining glass façade was designed by renowned architects such as Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer and Wallace Harrison.
The renovation was 30 times more expensive than the original cost of the building. The radical overhaul – including gutting the building, energy efficiency measures and technical updates – began in 2008. It was high time, since not only did the building have crumbling plaster, drafty windows and ancient heating systems, it also contained asbestos and outdated building protection and fire safety technology. The complex does not officially have protected building status because the supranational organization does not fall under the jurisdiction of any authority. Nevertheless, the historic identity of the iconic building had to be maintained. Instead of taking five years as planned, the work was only completed in 2016.