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Vienna International Centre

Pioneer in sustainable building management 

The IAKW-AG is responsible for approximately 325,000m² of space at the eight buildings that make up the VIC. Its task is to use sustainable technologies to provide an optimal working environment for the approximately 4,000 employees of the Vienna-based UN organisations. These needs are met by the company’s own transformer station, which is supplied with 100% renewable electricity before redirecting it to the building complex in the required voltage or transforming it into space cooling.

Over the last five years around EUR 2.5 million has been invested in state-of-the-art water and air cooled systems which regulate the temperature of the offices and server rooms. These investments deliver savings of EUR 200,000 per year. Green electricity, district heating and on-site cooling helped to deliver 56% reduction in CO2 emissions in the last 20 years.

Wien Energie is responsible for heat supplies. The long-standing partnership, which saves around 9,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, was formalised in 2014 with a separate climate protection agreement between the two companies.

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Climate award for Vienna International Centre

In 2016 the UN Climate Secretariat officially awarded climate neutral status to the VIC, making it the first of the four UN headquarters to earn this title. This makes Vienna – and the IAKW-AG – an international pioneer in the field of sustainable building management. The Austria Center Vienna’s work has played a major role in helping the Vienna-based organisations to become climate neutral.

Origins and history

The construction of the Vienna International Centre (VIC) has its origins in an agreement concluded between the Republic of Austria and the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The building was transferred to the international organisations for the symbolic rent of one Austrian schilling (7 euro cents) per year. The formal opening of the Vienna International Centre and the transfer of the complex to the organisations based there took place on 23 August 1979. 

A landmark building with special status

The VIC complex was built within the Donaupark according to plans laid down by the Austrian architect Johann Staber. It covers a total area of some 180,000 square metres. The land itself has been granted extra-territorial status meaning that Austrian law does not apply, with international law enforced at the complex instead. This also has a bearing on access to the site – only holders of a Ground Pass are permitted to enter the VIC.

More than 4,000 international representatives work at the VIC, which comprises a total of 4,500 offices and nine conference halls. Around a third of the people that work at the site are Austrian. The four Y-shaped office towers stand between 48 and 120 metres tall. Access points link the Austria Center Vienna and the Vienna International Centre on three levels. The entrances can be opened for delegates on request – but the strict security regulations in place at United Nations facilities apply. 

UN headquarter Bild vergrößern

Strict security measures

The security measures in place around the Vienna International Center are particularly stringent, especially at the entry and exit points. The personal safety of staff working at the various international organisations and local residents living in the vicinity of the VIC is paramount, which is why measures including checking all cars entering the area for explosive devises are in place. Access is restricted to authorised pass holders only.

To ensure round-the-clock security the Vienna International Centre even has its own security body - the United Nations Security and Safety Section (UNSSS), whose officers patrol and secure the “border crossings” between the UN site and Austria.

The Vienna Convention and various agreements concluded with the headquarters underpin the legal status and diplomatic immunity of the VIC (including all embassies and diplomatic missions). 

Major repairs and replacements fund (MRRF)

A common fund (the major repairs and replacements fund, MRRF) was set up to ensure that there are sufficient financial resources in place for any major building and maintenance work necessary for the proper upkeep of the Vienna International Centre, which was built as a federal project. Contributions are divided equally between the Republic of Austria and the Vienna-based organisations.

The official nomination of the representative of the Republic of Austria to the MRRF Joint Committee – the body in charge of managing the fund – is made by the Austrian President. The Republic of Austria is currently represented by Austria Center Vienna Chief Executive Susanne Baumann-Söllner. 
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Visitor information service

Special tours give visitors an insight into the history and architecture of the building, as well as an overview of the international organisations at the VIC and the work they do. 

Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Contact Visitors Service

Tel.: (+43-1) 26060-3328 
tours@unvienna.org
www.unis.unvienna.org