Redwood City, California, United States
Design for diplomacy
For more than half a century, the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan has been a center of international diplomacy. The neighborhood’s transformation began with the completion of the United Nations headquarters in 1950, and continued with permanent missions to the UN from countries around the world. Located along Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, the new Permanent Mission of the UAE continues this legacy as the first ground-up mission to the UN in a decade. Fittingly, the building is designed to embrace the city—to harmonize with New York’s architectural past, while also reflecting the identity of the UAE and the traditions of Middle Eastern hospitality.
The Permanent Mission is a dramatic, yet dignified structure—it is a Gesamtkunstwerk, a work of art inspired by an all-encompassing vision, comprehensively executed down to nearly every detail, from the exterior to the interior finishes and furnishings. Hospitality and the convening of both friends and strangers are cornerstones of Middle Eastern culture, and the primary driving force behind the architecture. The building is organized into three zones: an entry hall with event spaces on the first two stories, an amenity level and staff offices on floors three through six, and executive levels and a roof terrace at the top. The layout of each floor is inspired by the principle of the courtyard, with a central reception and gathering space that is accessible from the main entrance or elevator lobby, depending on the floor. These central spaces choreograph the visitor’s progression through the building, and are stacked directly above one another from floor to floor.
With the precision of a Swiss watch, the parts fit seamlessly, creating apparent simplicity out of complexity. SOM has designed an architectural model of diplomatic agreement.Read More