3XN's Eight Pointed Star Shaped UN City in Copenhagen

3XN's Eight Pointed Star Shaped UN City in Copenhagen

3XN designed the United Nations' new regional head office in Copenhagen. With clear references to the UN's identity and values, the eight pointed star shaped building physically reaches out to all parts the world, while the sculptural staircase in its core reflects the UN's work to create global dialogue.

The new regional head office is located on an artificial island, 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 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.

Photos: Adam Mork

filed under: Architecture
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