A second study of a thousand buildings in New York City, completed for the U.S. Department of Energy in 1978, revealed many inefficiencies in the design and use of energy sources. The study led directly to revised codes and controls for conserving energy in new buildings, and to ways to refit older buildings to curb energy waste.
Most of the New York owner/builders, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, followed a pattern in which they accumulated property over a period of years and then developed it. Tishman Realty tended to fol- low a different pattern. We’d get involved in acquiring a piece of land only when it was clear that we could erect on it, in the near future, a building with a given purpose office, residential, or shopping center. Brokers all over the country knew of our pattern and frequently brought us projects. As a result, in those years we had projects going up in several cities across the country. For me, this meant being continually on airplanes, trekking out to supervise the design and construction of office buildings and high-rise apartment buildings in cities from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. The most memorable of these projects were the numerous office and residential structures along Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, the East Ohio Gas building in Cleveland, the office complex known as 10 Lafayette Square in Buffalo, and high-rises in St. Louis, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.
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There were innovations associated with nearly every one of these projects.
The two Philadelphia buildings, called Center City, were right in the heart of downtown, one for an oil company headquarters, the other for a bank. For these significant buildings, we decided to use a process in which the exterior as well as the structure was made of exposed, cast-in-place concrete, rather than the exterior being clad with marble or with the then-popular “curtain wall” of glass. The exposed concrete gave the building an interesting appearance and great structural strength while it saved money and time in construction.
On an apartment complex in Pittsburgh, in the downtown, Three Rivers area known as Gateway Center, we innovated by using a new type of window. The new window consisted of an outer pane of glass and an inner one separated from it by several inches, and containing within that space aluminum Venetian blinds. Usually, in office buildings that have conventional blinds, the blinds become dusty and are also a pain in the neck to maintain. But when we placed the blinds between two panes of glass, they were able to shade the interior offices just as well as conventional blinds would have done, but were easier and less expensive to maintain.
On an additional project in Los Angeles, we also pushed the envelope of what a developer could do. We erected the first new apartment building in all of California that was to be sold to tenants as a co-op. Early on, we sold some apartments to high-profile tenants whose presence then aided the sale of the other units. The most important of these high-profile owners was John Hertz, the founder of the Hertz car rental agency, who took half of the penthouse floor and had us put in a below-grade swimming pool just for him. Famed film director Mervyn LeRoy was another early buyer.
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