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Republic of Korea Permanent Mission to the United Nations

Copyright Eric Schiller

This 11-story building for the Republic of Korea’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations is located on East 45th Street in Manhattan, just a half-block west of the UN. It is situated on a small mid-block site (90 feet x 100 feet), pressed between nondescript neighbors, many considerably taller. The Mission reinforces the street wall, but stands out for the quality of its light travertine facade, carefully hand-set with tight 3/8-inch joints to achieve a monolithic appearance. The building design balances requirements for high security, privacy, and operational efficiency with gracious ceremonial spaces for entertaining and showcasing Korean works of art.

Among the special event spaces is the 2-story, 30-foot square Korean Room, detailed in fine wood paneling, sliding wall screens, and a beamed ceiling in a modern interpretation of traditional Korean forms. Through a glass wall, dignitaries and their guests can enjoy a small private outdoor garden. Above, on the 11th floor, are accommodations for the highest-ranking ambassador, including a private balcony that looks out to the United Nations, and a skylit formal reception room, identified on the main facade by a 25-foot diamond-shaped window.


Rendering, top level reception space / Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

Design Team: I.M. Pei, Design Partner; Chris Rand, Design Architect
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners