10 Garden Sleeper Design Ideas

The New Amsterdam Theater, a beautiful restoration for the Disney Company, in the Times Square area. was water all through the building, and the holes in the roof were large enough to see through. Yet the old interior had a grandeur that more recently constructed theaters could not match. An optimist, I assured the Disney executives that this wreck of a theater could be renovated to house the musicals that Disney wanted to bring to Broadway, and that in renovating it and becoming a presence on 42nd Street, Disney could help turn around a section of New York that had once been spectacular but that had fallen very far into the depths. This meshed with Michael Eisner’s vision, and the “landmark” New Amsterdam Theater lived again. Revitalizing that end of 42nd Street also enabled our firm and New York City to resuscitate an even larger portion of “the Deuce” the street name for 42nd.

Tishman Construction is generally recognized as the creator of the field of Construction Management; and the CMAA, the Construction Management Association of America, has honored me as a pioneer. I’m not very good at patting myself on the back, but on this point I must quote the letter from the CMAA that accompanied my award: “Your work in establishing the value of the ‘team’ in the entire development process, introducing the concepts of fast-track construction and the systems approach to product specification, as well as involving manufacturers/ suppliers in finding innovative solutions to building problems has had a tremendous impact on the CM industry.”

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Construction Management is the innovation of which I am the most proud, in part because of the way I think of Construction Management as the modern equivalent of the old “master builder” concept, which dates to the Greek and Roman eras but reached its apogee in the early Middle Ages. A master builder would make the design and then supervise the construction phases from start to finish, integrating the work of the trades and the suppliers of materials, and controlling the payments to everyone involved. Sometimes this master builder was the owner of the property; more often he worked for an organization such as the church or a governmental entity that needed an edifice erected. In many and varied ways, the master builder acted as the manager and coordinator of all aspects of the project.

In the late Middle Ages, this arrangement changed with the coming to prominence of the profession of architect, and as guilds of tradesmen such as carpenters, plumbers, and masons gained some collective power. Each aspect of creating a building became specialized. The architect created the design but was not responsible for supervising the construction. Each trade operated somewhat independently of the others.

In the nineteenth century, owners and their architects began hiring one manager or one firm to supervise all of the various building trades. They made a contract with this person or firm to act as the “general” contractor, whose task it was to pay for and to supervise the work of the specialized tradesmen.

In the twentieth century, the norm for real estate development, particularly in the big cities, became entrepreneurs with little construction expertise who therefore needed to hire general contractors to erect their buildings. The major exceptions to this norm were Tishman Realty & Construction and similar family-owned developers, who supervised their own construction. By the end of World War II, in New York, only Tishman Realty, of the large New York-based developers, continued to have its own construction division.

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