The United Nations officially inaugurated their new star-shaped regional headquarters on the 4th of July in Copenhagen. A remarkable feat by Denmark's own 3XN Architects, the eight-pointed structure is imbued with symbolism designed to reflect the group's peacekeeping ideals, and it has a host of sustainable features to boot. With 1,400 solar panels generating 297,000 kWh/year and a special shade-making aluminum skin, 3XN has pulled off one of their greenest building's yet.
Located on an artificial island just north of Copenhagen’s city center, UN City houses 1,700 UN staff. The eight-point star represents the UN’s involvement in all reaches of the globe, and the perforated white aluminum skin was designed specifically for this project. Comprised of three meter long panels, the shutters that control solar gain without sacrificing daylighting are computer operable by the firm’s employees.
Cooled by seawater, the building also boasts a rainwater collection system. This water is used to flush toilets. Further water conservation is achieved with special aerator taps that minimize flow. However, by far the most impressive aspect of this already breathtaking design is an incredible sculptural staircase located in the center of the daylit atrium. Linking all floors of the building, this beautiful work of art also encourages dialog and multicultural socializing – key tenets of the UN’s overall mission.