UNO, UNO!

I apologize if you thought now about the game, but it’s not what I wanted to refer to. No, what I was referring to is the organization, the United Nations.

**Instameet – Cooperation between @igersaustria.at and @unitednations**

They have one of four headquarters right here in Vienna (for reasons which I will talk about later), and thanks to @igersaustria.at, and the people at the UN, I was able to visit it with a group of other instagramers.

The building is probably one of the most famous in Vienna. Not only because of its height, or special architecture, but also because of its history and significance. The organization itself was founded 1945 by 51 states as to uphold world peace and as to work for social progress. Up to this day the number of member state grew up to 193-member states. Although, a keen observer might spot 195 flags in front of the building; the last two flags belonging to Palestine and the Vatican State who observe the actions of the UN.

In 1979 the Vienna International City (the VIC in Kaisermühlen-VIC) was officially opened, after 7 years of construction, which costs were shared by the city of Vienna and the Austrian Government. And it’s the Austrian government that rents the VIC all to the UN for 0,07 euro a year (back in 1979 it was still 1 schilling, the minimal amount of money that could be transferred). But why am I talking about the VIC, even though everybody in Vienna just calls it “UNO City”? Well, that has to do with the fact that the complex also houses many other organizations like the IAEA – the International Atomic Energy Agency – for example. Oh, and it’s really a city since the whole complex houses the entire infrastructure (bank, post office, restaurants, dry cleaner, gym….) that a true city also has to offer. + it has its own post code, which is 1400.

Now, the building looks a bit strange with its six Y-shaped towers, but the Austrian architect which designed it (and also the Austria Center Vienna) had a concrete thought behind it. The towers are organised around the central rotund, that houses two conference rooms, in a way that they throw the least possible amount of shadow on each other; this effect is further enhanced through their different heights. The Y shape was chosen, so that every room can face the outside, leading to more daylight inside the building and smaller electric costs. The same can’t be said about the ventilation, since no window can be opened… although, there is the legend of a hidden window that can be opened. So, even though the VIC may look like the AKH from the outside, thanks to the time period of its construction it’s very much unlike it. It’s rather like the space station in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, minus the deadly I.A. that wants to kill all humans.

There is also another building, with the designation M, whose construction was finished in 2009. It looks unlike the rest of the VIC, and has more resemblance with an airport. It was build during the renovation of the building complex as to house the conferences, which usually take place in the rotund. Ever since the renovation process was finished it has still been kept in use, because of its huge holding capacities. You have to imagine that if the UN wanted to it could hold a conference with up to 2000 people inside it of it.

So, yeah that was a short overlook of some of the things I discovered about the VIC during the instawalk. What else I’ve learned you got to discover for yourself, and that’s easy since the UN offers guided tours, just look them up on their website and don’t forget two things:

a) your passport/id; and b) your desire to discover new things 😉

 

 

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