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Thread: WTC Transit Hub - by Santiago Calatrava

  1. #3616
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  3. #3618
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    I'm already tired of this thing.

  4. #3619

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    That's what happens with faddish starchitecture. Its impact is superficial and lasts for a few years at most. Then the people are saddled with the burden of using it, looking at it, and paying for it.

  5. #3620

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    Like the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Opera House. What a couple of snoozers. No one goes to see them anymore. Just a couple of white elephants for Paris and Sydney to deal with.

  6. #3621

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    I think it looks cool, but it's taken FOREVER. Look at the first date of this thread, from July 2003. That was a few months before "Hey Ya" became the #1 song in the US. It was a looong time ago.

  7. #3622

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    Quote Originally Posted by BPC View Post
    Like the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Opera House. What a couple of snoozers. No one goes to see them anymore. Just a couple of white elephants for Paris and Sydney to deal with.
    How about the Montreal Olympic stadium or Calatrava's own Valencia Opera House.

  8. #3623

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    What about them?

  9. #3624
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    I don't think anyone goes to Sydney to see the Opera house.

  10. #3625

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    So we should build things strictly as tourist attractions?

  11. #3626
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    The Montreal Olympic Stadium, having been to it, has an issue of location. The geodesic dome, built there for the world's fair, remains incredibly popular, largely because it's so much easier to get to (so much more in town). But it's true, some architectural feats remain draws (I absolutely agree with the Eiffel Tower and Sydney Opera House being icons and huge draws for their cities), while others do not (people do not likely travel to NYC in large numbers for the world's fair buildings that are crumbling in Queens). I have the sneaking suspicion less people go to Seattle for the EMP Museum, despite its pedigree as a Gehry. But I mean, think about something like Falling Water. It's the only reason anyone would ever have heard of Mill Run, PA (although was built privately and not as a huge public draw initially).

  12. #3627
    Forum Veteran Tectonic's Avatar
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    Think we should be asking why the overruns on these public projects.

  13. #3628
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
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    Honestly? It's almost always poor budgeting. Look, how does one get a cost overrun (or even underrun). One of two things happens. They made a budget to the best of their ability and then something went wrong (or right). The project is suddenly over (under) budget. Cool! But you could also just do a terrible job of budgeting. I could tell you to budget $200 for a new iPad. You do. I go to the store and buy the cheapest one there is ($250). Now you're $50 over budget. Sucks to be you.

    The major reason for public projects to get this so wrong so consistently (and almost always over budget) is unrealistically low estimates. If the estimates were accurate in the first place, nothing at all would get built, because people would call the budgets CRAZY. You're going to spend X billion dollars on WHAT NOW? So to get projects going, they're usually lowballed. Sometimes this is compounded with additional changes that screw things up (Hurricane Sandy). This can even have a multiplicative effect on budgets. In any event, the reason public projects do this is because most people have literally no concept of sunk costs (unlike a business). And so once the project is underway, it will almost always get finished at some new, higher cost. The average Joe on the street isn't going to be able to articulate the concept of throwing good money after bad (take a look at the tunnel in Seattle for evidence of this!), and so the money goes. Besides, it's mostly someone else's.

    I've seen this time and time again on projects I've worked on for the public sector as well. Usually what happens is this.
    Government Agency: We'd like to do a project like this.
    Contractor: That will cost $X.
    GA: We only have $X-$Y. You should do the project for that.
    Contractor: Well, $X-$Y is still green money, so ok.

    6 months later.
    Contractor: We're out of money.
    GA: How could that be?
    Contractor: We've already spent $X-Y and there's $Y worth of work to do still, since the project scope never changed.
    GA: What if we just stop now?
    Contractor: You don't really get anything if you stop now. It's a (hole in the ground/unfinished survey/half a reorganization plan/etc).
    GA: Fine, have more money.
    The Press: Project XYZ is now $Y over budget! How could this happen? The horror!!!

    Just putting it out there. Someone here is welcome to contend this situation, but I'd be really surprised if anyone has had more realistic experiences working with public agencies.

  14. #3629

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoldanTTLB View Post
    The major reason for public projects to get this so wrong so consistently (and almost always over budget) is unrealistically low estimates. If the estimates were accurate in the first place, nothing at all would get built, because people would call the budgets CRAZY.
    This issue came up in another thread [one of the subway projects?], and the perception was that the problem was unique to the US. Actually, it's a common worldwide problem and the chief cause, as you said, is a lowball estimate to gain approval.

    The aforementioned Sydney Opera House missed its completion date by ten years, and came in 14 times over budget.

  15. #3630
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Straying further off topic, Sydney needed a splashy building to put itself on the map. The completed building generated huge amounts of publicity, which has a cash value of its own.

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