After listening to all the input about the building’s structural design and uses, I recommended to both partners that we use an upside-down, reverse structure, with concrete for the offices part of the building and steel for the residential part. Since the apartments were to be rather large and well separated from each other, the need for concrete’s dampening qualities was diminished. Steel, lighter and more flexible, would aid in apartment design. Below, concrete’s structural qualities would enhance the utility of the office floors and lobby display area. Underneath that lobby, there was to be a museum for Hellenic art, and the walls of the lobby, a public space, would need to be open and strong enough to display replicas of the Elgin Marbles, as well as containing a waterfall and space for cafes. To properly support the open spaces and the structures above, large columns would be required.
Both partners pronounced themselves satisfied with this upside-down solution. I breathed a sigh of relief and thereafter, we represented both owners, without problems.
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Design sessions on the building were a treat for me, as Mrs. Onassis, the former Jacqueline Kennedy, attended a number of design sessions, as did Mr. Onassis. While she contributed her ideas to the interior designs of the luxury apartments, he seemed most interested in the overall design process.
Often enough, in a meeting, we will come to an impasse, say over the efficacy of a design. I’ll want it this way and another person at the table will want it a different way and someone (other than me) will say, “Let’s split the difference.”
Let’s not. No way. If I’m correct in my position, why should I compromise? My task is to convince the other person, by logic, of the correctness of my position. Does my stance on not splitting the difference mean that I’m stubborn? Certainly I am when I know I’m right. And I know when that is, because I generally can back up my position with reasons and evidence drawn from experience.
If I say the design of the door needs to be forty inches wide to accommodate a wheelchair, and the person opposite me at the table
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