Gelatin Silver prints. 14.5 x 18 inches. Edition of 5.

When the United Nations was founded in the aftermath of the Second World War, an international team of leading architects was appointed to design the headquarters. Le Corbusier, given a leading role, outlined his ideas in U N Headquarters:

Here lies the fate of the United Nations, and consequently the fate of the world: academism or life?

By academism we mean evaluating things by ingrained custom. We know how often these values in their ferocious persistence become the indomitable enemy of life, and the fixation point of the weak. Reaching this point, academism turns to a state of conviction, becomes a blind act of faith, stubborn rampart of society and morals. But life is different, unbridled, without respect; it develops like nature in Spring, according to the currents of irresistible forces which at a given time result from an evolution that has matured, from an inherent revolution that has determined the irrevocable play of seasons.

The United Nations faces the choice: Academism or Life – and this will determine its destiny.

These images were taken on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Its optimistic ideals and modernist design were still evident in the headquarters' International style, though perhaps "life" was slipping into "academism."