Archival Collections
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library

Joint Advisory Committee on Planning and Development of the United Nations Headquarters Records, 1934-1948, (bulk 1946-1947) 

Joint Advisory Committee on Planning and Development of the United Nations Headquarters.
Phys. Desc: 
1.1 linear feet of papers : (3 manuscript boxes)
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library
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Biographical Note

In early 1946, the Preparatory Commission of United Nations determined that the international headquarters of the new organization, established a year before, should be located in the United States. Initiated by the American Institute of Architects and joined by the American Institute of Planners, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the American Society of Civil Engineers, representatives from these four technical societies established a joint advisory committee to offer professional advice to the United Nations Headquarters Commission. New York-based architect Eric Gugler was appointed chairman of the Joint Advisory Committee and the first meeting was held at the Harvard Club in New York City on March 2, 1946. From March 1946 through early 1947, the Joint Advisory Committee participated actively in various phases of the Union Nations Headquarters project, from selection of the site, to preparation of a planning requirement, to call for an international competition, to early stage of design. On December 12, 1946, the United Nations Headquarters Commission voted to accept a tract of Manhattan real estate overlooking the East River, donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., for the final headquarters site. On January 6, 1947, New York architect Wallace K. Harrison was appointed Director of Planning for the United Nations' Permanent Headquarters, assisted by an international team of architects and engineers. However, without any formal authority, the influence of the Joint Advisory Committee was minor and, having fulfilled its mission, the committee was officially discharged in January 1948. On September 14, 1948, a groundbreaking ceremony took place for the new headquarters complex.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes typescript papers, printed papers, holograph papers, telegrams, bound volumes, pamphlets, and diazo prints. This collection contains documents, statements, minutes, correspondence, notes, and reference materials related to the activities of the Joint Advisory Committee on Planning and Development of the United Nations Headquarters. Although materials relating to Wallace Harrison appear in this collection, there is otherwise no direct documentary connection in these papers between the members of this committee and the team of international architects that designed the UN's New York City headquarters. Series I contains founding papers regarding the committee's formation and mandate and examples of historic competitions. Series II contains minutes of ten committee meetings between March 2, 1946 and October 29, 1946. Series III contains documents related to the “Statement on the Report of the Headquarters Commission" released by the Joint Advisory Committee on October 24, 1946. The largest portion of the collection, Series IV, contains correspondence between participating members dating from the founding of the Joint Advisory Committee in January 1946 to its close in January 1948. Series V contains general papers, including vouchers, personnel lists, memos, notes, and related correspondence. Lastly, Series VI contains reference files, primarily clippings from the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune dating rom February 1946 to September 1947.