July 4, 2013 (TSR) – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday together with Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Minister for Foreign Affairs Villy Søvndal and Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bach officially opened the UN City in Copenhagen. The ceremony officially opened both Campus 1 and Campus 2, but was held in Campus 1.
The new UN City will host some 1,250 UN staff employed in eight UN organizations, affiliated agencies and international organizations in Denmark, which now becomes the world’s 6th largest host for the organizations of the United Nations (UN).
Some 1,500 guests including Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal, Danish Development Minister Christian Friis Bach and Copenhagen Lord Mayor Frank Jensen attended the opening ceremony.
“UN City will house around 1,200 personnel from eight UN organizations providing support to crucial humanitarian, peace building and development operations around the world,”said Ban at the opening ceremony.
“UN City is an example of how modern, energy-efficient offices can play their part in building the future we want,” Mr. Ban said, echoing the title of the outcome of last year’s landmark Rio+20 summit, which has become the international community’s roadmap to sustainability, urging dramatic shifts in consumption and production patterns and protecting and managing the planet’s natural resource base.
The Secretary-General hailed the new complex as an important contribution to a more efficient, carbon neutral UN.
“From the rows of parked bicycles to the wind turbines out to sea, I see proof that we can tackle the climate challenges that face us,” he said, adding further: “From solar panels to seawater cooling and external metal blinds to regulate light and heat, UN City shows what can be achieved. Estimated energy consumption will be cut by more than half.”
Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Christian Friis Bach says: “The new UN City sends a clear signal that the Danish government wants to strengthen the UN. I attach particular importance to the gathering of the UN organisations under one roof which makes them able to cooperate better and ensures synergy and impact. Through the new UN City, Denmark truly contributes to the objective of One UN”.
In 1957, World Health Organization (WHO) moved its regional office for Europe to Copenhagen. Since then, several other UN organizations such as United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) have followed this step.
Once complete, Mr. Ban said, UN City will house around 1,200 personnel from the organizations providing support to crucial humanitarian, peacebuilding and development operations around the world.
“Bringing so many UN organizations together in one location allows for shared logistics, administration, networking and collegiality – enhancing cooperation and ability to ‘Deliver as One’,” he added.
He said that the work carried out by the UN agencies in Copenhagen “makes a real difference to the lives of the poor and vulnerable,” and Denmark should be “rightly proud” of its contribution.
“Denmark is a pioneer and I am extremely appreciative of that. Denmark has contributed to numerous peacekeeping missions and has hosted several important UN agencies,” Ki-moon told Politiken newspaper. “I mustn’t forget to thank the exquisite contribution to renovate one of the UN meeting halls with Finn Juhl’s classic furniture.”
The two leaders will also be discussing Ki-moon’s international education initiative, Global Education First Initiative, which Thorning-Schmidt is an advocate of.
Further, he said that Denmark is also one of a handful of countries to meet the UN target of devoting at least 0.7 per cent of gross national income to official development assistance (ODA). Indeed, the Nordic country has met and often exceeded that target for the past 35 years.
“In a word, Denmark delivers,” he declared, adding: “UN City is one more example. This is a place where good things are happening and where even more can and will be done.”
It is more than 50 years ago that WHO moved its regional office for Europe to Copenhagen. Since then, several other organisations have followed suit.
Denmark currently hosts seven UN organisations – United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) – and with the establishment of the UN City, it will be possible for more organisations to settle in Copenhagen. As an example, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) recently established an office in UN city, while UNEP will open a new technology centre, which will also be located in the UN city.
Copenhagen becomes the world’s 6th largest UN City in the Western world (measured in terms of UN staff). There are around 1,250 UN staff employed in the 8 UN organisations, affiliated agencies and international organisations in Denmark. Earlier, the
UN organisations were spread between three different addresses in Copenhagen (around the harbours at Frihavnen and Svanemøllen). With the UN City, these organisations have now been gathered under one roof, generating economic and operational benefits.
The UN organisations themselves highlight many advantages of a location in Copenhagen: the highly educated workforce, the infrastructure, the well-functioning society, the high level of security, as well as the location in a “central” time zone, enabling the
organisations not only to work in parallel with the UN’s activities in Africa and the Middle East, but also to reach colleagues in Asia and America within the same working day. At the same time, the location in Copenhagen is a natural choice in relation to the Nordic countries, which are important and constructive partners as well as major donors.
The Danish Government also seeks to contribute in strengthening the UN and the UN’s achievements. By having access to rent-free premises, the organisations can free up funds for their development work at country level. This “in kind” contribution thus serves as an extremely flexible instrument for the organisations, as the freed funds can be used in areas where the need is greatest. Offering office space in Copenhagen to the organisations also ensures that the core functions that are performed in Copenhagen and which support the country programmes are afforded the best possible framework conditions.
Moreover, the location of UN organisations in Denmark also offers a clear benefit to Denmark in terms of providing wide scope for close contact with the UN system. Denmark’s international engagement and role as a major development aid donor places the UN at the heart of Danish foreign and development policy.
There are also many other positive aspects of the UN’s presence in Copenhagen: It creates jobs, it promotes Copenhagen’s image as an international city, and it benefits not only companies that sell goods and services to the UN but also Denmark’s international business environment, tourism, culture, etc.
The construction of the UN City’s first part was handed to the users 1 January this year. After the completion of the technical installations, the organisations have now moved into the building. The construction of the second part of the UN City is still in process and will be handed over to the users by January 1 2014. As an integrated part of the UN City, the Danish Government has also provided a new high-tech warehouse to UNICEF, which was put into full operation at the turn of the year.
CPH City & Port Development (By og Havn in Danish) is the developer/owner of the UN City, which has been designed by architects 3 x Nielsen (3XN). The breakdown of ownership is as follows:
The UN City is owned by ATP (45.75 %), PensionDanmark (45.75 %) and CPH City & Port Development (8.5 %). The three parties have formed a consortium, Harbour P/S, that leases the UN City to the Danish State.
The new UN city is located in harbor area of Nordhavn district in Copenhagen with 45,000 square metres in size. When the total construction is completed, the house will be able to accommodate as much as 1700 UN work stations. The building contains meeting 90 room facilities including a number of flexible rooms on each floor that staff can use for various purposes and a conference hall that can accommodate up to 450 people. For smaller conferences and meetings, the auditorium can be divided into smaller rooms by using specially designed partitions.
The entire UN City project is made up of two parts: Campus 1 and Campus 2. Construction of the UN City Campus 1 started in the spring of 2010. Phase 1 was completed by the end of 2012. Phase 2 will be completed by the end of 2013. The construction of Campus 2 started in September 2010 and was completed in March 2012.
The UN City (Campus 1) comprises an office building with 45,000 m2 of floor space. This office complex has been constructed to low-energy class 1 standards, which is partly reflected in the installation of solar panels and as such is a state-of-the-art building in the energy and climate field. It is registered with the LEED sustainability ratings system with the certification goal of LEED® Platinum and has been awarded the prestigious ”GreenBuilding Award 2012” by the European Commission.
Approximately 900 UN staff from 104 countries are currently working in the UN City Campus 1.
Campus 2 is a new, high-tech warehouse for UNICEF, which has been built further out on the Nordhavn waterfront.
The warehouse covers over 20,000 m2. The fully automated high-bay storage alone is 25m high, 63m wide and 150m long, with 36,000 pallet locations and 8 robot cranes. The warehouse can handle 1500 pallets of essential supplies for children per day.
Approximately 320 UNICEF staff are working at Campus 2.
UNICEF’s supply operation has been in Copenhagen since 1962. It moved to Marmormolen in 1975, and administrative buildings were added in 1984.
In March 2012, over 300 UNICEF staff moved to Campus 2 to allow for the construction of Campus 1 to be completed. Campus 2 is home to the world’s largest humanitarian warehouse which stores some 850 different kinds of life-saving supplies for children. Campus 2 also features UNICEF’s Innovation Lab and Global Learning Centre. Temporary pavilions provide additional office space
The new office of the various agencies and functions of the united nations regional office is a consolidation of each independently working unit into a spoke-shaped design that reflects each arm of the institution.
The building seeks to balance security and accessibility with an atrium that organizes the programming while providing ample natural light throughout the open-plan levels. The integration of green recreational areas, ample and rhythmic glazing and smartly composed networks of circulation articulate a building that is open and diplomatic rather than staunch and closed-off.
With strong environmental profile, it is expected to use less than 50 kilowatt hours (kWh) per square metre for annual energy consumption. Campus 1 has been designed to use at least 55% less energy than expected from a similar-sized office building.
More than 1,400 solar panels have been installed on the roof of the building to support the goal of generating renewable energy, while seawater is pumped into in the building’s cooling system, almost entirely eliminating the need for electricity to power the cooling cycle.
Furthermore, the building will capture almost 3 million liters of rainwater annually, which is almost enough to flush the toilets without using potable water.
High security and accessibility standards also have been central considerations in the design of the new main office building. The UN City must live up to the most stringent requirements, providing a protected and safe environment, while at the same time appearing open and accommodating to the city.
Located on an artificial island the building is naturally separated from its immediate surroundings, while still being highly visible from both the city and the water.
From above, the eight-pointed star shape is a clear visual reference point, which, like the UN, reaches out to all corners of the world. Similar to the surrounding rusty pier edges, the UN city has a dark burnished steel base from which the white main building rises. This is a reference to the elegant white ships that characterize this part of the Copenhagen harbor.
The building has a façade cladding of white perforated aluminum shutters, developed by 3XN and contractor Pihl specifically for the UN City. The shutters ensure solar shading without blocking the view or the daylight. Since the facade is divided into three meter long modules, it is possible for the employees to control the sunshade from their computers. The result is an improved indoor environment, and a dynamic façade expressing a building full of life.
From the core of the star-shaped building, a daylight filled atrium connects the lobby level containing all common functions, with the office levels, where the various UN agencies are distributed. From the atrium a central staircase binds all levels together.
3XN has created the staircase as a dramatic spatial sculpture, which is to be seen as a symbol of the UN’s work to create dialogue, interaction and positive encounters between people in all parts of the world. In the daily life, the sculptural form inspires the UN employees to want to use the stairs, and thus the staircase also forms the basis for dialogue, cooperation and informal meetings
between the various UN organizations.
All office levels are characterized by an open and flexible layout encouraging knowledge sharing and interaction as well as individual concentration. Work stations are ensured plenty of high quality daylight and a good indoor climate.
The building has been designed to limit the use of chemicals and pollutants during both its construction and its use. The building is entirely ventilated with filtered outside air. This ensures that only clean, fresh air is present in the building and helps balance the interior humidity level.
Cold seawater is pumped into the building’s cooling system, and almost entirely eliminating the need for electricity to power the cooling cycle.
Innovative aerators have been placed in the taps in kitchens, toilets and showers throughout the building. The low-flow taps reduce water usage. In addition, pipes on the roof capture almost 3,000,000 litres of rainwater annually, which is almost enough to flush the toilets of the entire building without using potable water.
The roof of the building has been coated with a white, recyclable membrane, made from plant-based materials. The environmentally-friendly coating reflects sunlight and reduces the solar warming of the building.
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