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“Kleiner Eugen”: Federal Minister visits the green skyscraper

“Kleiner Eugen” : Federal Minister visits the green skyscraper

The new 65-metre-high extension to the Climate Secretariat at the UN Campus in Bonn will be completed in a few weeks' time. The GA got to take a look inside the building.

The United Nations Campus in Bonn is growing. From the outside, the 65-metre-high new building on Stresemannufer - presumably to be called the “Kleiner Eugen” in future - looks lucent and modern thanks to its glass façade. Following completion in the next few weeks, the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat is expected to move in here in the first half of next year. On Friday, a visit by Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) allowed a first glimpse inside the building.

The management offices on the top floor look futuristic. Green is the predominant colour, in the spirit of climate protection. This is contrasted with a variety of orange tones. A cooling, ventilation and heating system is to provide good physical working conditions all year round with low energy consumption, explains project manager Benedikt Siebert from the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning. A geothermal well will also be used as a renewable energy source. “The well water is used via a heat pump to cool and heat the building and ultimately as service water,” says Siebert.

As a pilot project in the federal Assessment System for Sustainable Building (BNB), the new building is to achieve the gold standard and meet high economic, ecological and socio-cultural criteria in order to be considered particularly sustainable. “Pioneering work has been carried out in many areas here”, says Siebert. One example of the sustainability of the building is that only part of the water used ends up in the Rhine. Another part is temporarily stored and subsequently used to flush the toilets. According to Siebert, the skyscraper is also easily accessible; an architect who is a wheelchair user herself was involved in the planning. There are also tactile orientation aids for people with visual impairments.

Federal Environment Minister Schulze was “thrilled” with the new building, despite being interrupted several times by drilling machines during the press briefing. “Work is still being carried out here,” she said. According to the Minister, the building is ultra-modern, energy-efficient and embodies climate protection in its entirety.

Costs amount to 75 million euros

The costs for the new high-rise building in Bonn amount to around 75 million euros. It is now the eighth tallest building in the city, but will soon be relegated to ninth place by the new high-rise on the new Kanzlerplatz. Construction work on the UN high-rise building began in 2017. The new skyscraper with 17 floors has been constructed in the shadow of the main UN building, also known as the “Langer Eugen”, which was built at the end of the 1960s and reaches 115 metres. The 7,000-square-metre façade of the new building was completed last autumn, after celebrating the topping out in June 2019.

From next year, the 13,400 m2 floor space will accommodate around 330 employees from the Climate Secretariat. Until now, the Secretariat has been divided. Some of the staff have been working in the ‘Langer Eugen’, and the others in the Carstanjen house in Plittersdorf. These departments will now be brought together in the new building.

25 UN organisations are now active in the field of sustainability and climate protection in Bonn. According to Environment Minister Schulze, the Federal Government will continue to “actively support and promote the settlements of the United Nations and international organisations in Bonn”. The building now sends out “a powerful and assertive signal for Bonn as a location. At the same time, it is about strengthening reliable and well-functioning structures for the community of nations and for international climate protection,” Schulze explained.

(Original text: Marco Rauch, Translation: Caroline Kusch)