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Report by CTBUH Fellow William Maibusch, Andersen Construction

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Delegates gather to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Gensler and Turner International.

Turner Construction sponsored one of the many host rooms at the CTBUH 2015 International Conference. They conducted several presentations and panel discussions on structural elements of the Wilshire Grand Hotel, the project management of tall buildings, as well as the benefits of lean and BIM on urban mega projects, tall buildings, and local communities.

In addition, Turner celebrated its 50th anniversary of working in  international markets by holding a reception in conjunction with Gensler Architects, who is also celebrating 50 years as an international design and architecture firm.

In the panel discussion titled “Tall Buildings and the Local Community,” Tom Ford, Planning & Urban Design Studio Leader of Gensler, said that a city skyline is as individual as a fingerprint. He also discussed the aspect of human scale at the base of a building, highlighting three in particular to consider: block scale, street scale, and district scale − each is integral and important, as they relate back to the human scale.

Glen Collins, Project Executive of Turner Construction International, presented on Russia’s evolving skyline, focusing specifically on Moscow City which at one time had 18 separate plots of land all simultaneously under construction. This congestion of buildings, because of their close proximity to one another, made the environment quite impersonal.


Delegates examine a map of “Turner International City.”

Collins was not shy in his criticism of these developments. He noted that the retail components of these buildings did not have any major or anchor tenants. Many of the stores were high-end retailers, pricing out local residents. He argued that it gave the impression of an elitist society: one that prefers to be separated from the rest of society. This, in addition to poor transportation and a lack of open space, created an environment where there were very few shoppers within Moscow City.

Turner’s IC2 project was specifically designed to encourage people to walk instead of using automobiles, an idea that fostered connectivity between the different developments. Everyone agreed that it would be a major (yet positive) change for developers to shift towards a shared goal of producing projects that promote more walking and less driving − a transition that is healthy for both people and the environment.


Nicholas Billotti, Chairman, Turner International.

Towards the end of day one, a reception celebrating both Turner International and Genslers’ 50th anniversary was hosted by Dian Hoskins, Co-CEO of Gensler, and Nicholas Billotti, Chairman of Turner International.

During the panel discussion on the “Project Management of Tall Buildings,” the general consensus of those attending the session was that constructability issues require early collaboration between owners, architects, engineers, and contractors. This applies to both the design and construction phases of a project. CTBUH Advisor Group member Ahmad Abdelarazaq, Senior Executive Vice President, Samsung C&T Corporation, stated that successful international projects “require the global integration of team members, with a cross cultural exchange of ideas and information.”

Some in attendance expressed concern that contractors may be reluctant to get involved early in the process and provide valued input without some assurance of a fair tendering and award process. the panel stated that, to eliminate any sense of mistrust, there must be complete openness and transparency during tendering and award. This begins with a comprehensive prequalification process, so that contractors know they are competing on a level playing field with other companies that are legitimately qualified to tender. A successful prequalification process will require two to six months to complete, and this must be planned for well in advance so it fits properly into the master schedule of any development. A closing comment to this session was that, to be innovative, one must step forward early in the process.

Monday, October 26, 2015

11:15 AM – 12:45 PM 

“The Benefits of Lean, BIM and IPD on Urban Mega Projects”

12:45 – 1:45 PM

Lunch Break
CTBUH to Receive The Henry C. Turner Prize
Main Conference level in the “Urban Issues Room” (Ballroom 3)
Chase Rynd, Director, National Building Museum, New York
Peter Davoren, President and CEO, Turner, New York
David Malott, CTBUH Chairman / Principal, KPF, New York
Antony Wood, Executive Director, CTBUH, Chicago

1:45 – 3:15 PM

“Panel Discussion: Tall Buildings and the Local Community”
Tom Ford, Planning & Urban Design Studio Leader, Gensler
Glenn Collins, Project Executive, Turner International
Prasetyo Adi, Partner & Managing Director, PDW Architects / CTBUH Regional Representative, Jakarta

12:45 – 1:45 PM

Coffee Break

3:45 – 5:15 PM

“Reception in Celebration of Turner International’s and Gensler’s 50th Anniversaries”
Cocktails provided
Hosted by:
Diane Hoskins, Co-CEO, Gensler
Nicholas Billotti, Chairman, Turner International

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

11:15 AM – 12:45 PM

“Panel Discussion: Project Management of Tall Buildings”
Ahmad Abdelrazaq, Senior Executive Vice President, Samsung C&T Corporation / CTBUH Advisory Group, Seoul
Nayan Trivedi, Partner, Leslie E. Robertson Associates
Michael Doring, Vice President, Regional Director – Southeast Asia, Turner International

12:45 – 1:45 PM

Lunch Break

1:45 – 5:15 PM

“Panel Discussion: Wilshire Grand Hotel: Structural Elements of the Tallest Tower in Los Angeles”
Scott Borland, Vice President & Project Executive, Turner Construction Company
Sam Hernandez, Trade Manager, Turner Construction Company
Allen Chow, Senior Engineer, Turner Construction Company