Bill Flemming, president of Skanska USA Building, met with world-renowned designer Santiago Calatrava to discuss the successes of our two joint projects: Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Fla., and, in New York City, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and its dramatic Oculus entrance structure.
Florida Polytechnic University
Flemming: Santiago, in your opinion, what were some of the successes of the Florida Polytechnic project that stand out to you the most?
Calatrava: One of the main successes of this project is how my team and Skanska worked together to deliver a price certain design and construction process for such a complex building. Effective collaboration is the key to success. It shows that great things can be built.
Flemming: When you are dealing with a complex project like Florida Polytechnic – or the Oculus– what is the most important characteristic you desire in a contractor?
Calatrava: I have always respected contractors and admired their capacity to deliver. When working with Skanska on the Polytechnic project, we could not believe how easily you were able to attack the most complex components. There were never any problems that couldn’t be addressed. And in the end, you gave us better solutions. This project is an exceptional project. And it will be completed under budget.
That is truly exceptional.
The Oculus entrance at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub
Flemming: Getting to price certainty is a real challenge in this industry. What do you think the best solution is?
Calatrava: When the architect and builder work together, the owner always benefits. If you, as the contractor, give us the chance to design something better, we will take that opportunity. When you are working hand-in-hand, the building will only be more innovative.