US architect charged with UN HQ renovations

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed American architect Michael Adlerstein on Monday to oversee the US$1.9 billion (€1.4 billion) renovation of the landmark UN headquarters building overlooking New York's East River. Adlerstein will be executive director of the Capital Master Plan, a long-delayed project to modernize the 39-story glass-and-steel building which has not seen a major overhaul in its 55-year existence and now violates safety and fire codes. A native New Yorker, Adlerstein is currently vice president and architect of The New York Botanical Garden, America's oldest and most respected center for horticulture and botanical research. In the 1980s, he was project director for the ambitious restoration of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty which led to his promotion to Chief Historical Architect, advising the US National Park Service director and the US secretary of interior. He previously worked as a US State Department consultant on numerous projects including preservation of the Taj Mahal.