At long last

When a project spans nearly a quarter century, continuity is as important as completion

Construction for the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles, California), a Jewish educational institution, began in 1989, with the fifth and final phase completed in October 2013. This article discusses a project that spans nearly a quarter century and explores how continuity shaped its completion. Given that 24-year span, the US$500 million project--which eventually included nearly 560,000 square feet (52,000 square meters) of meeting rooms, libraries, a cafe, museum and performing arts centers--faced an unusual challenge: continuity. The article details how the project's master plan was more like five separate projects and describes how the project's stop-start construction traces back to Skirball's no-debt policy. It also examines the effect on the project by the gap between phases, noting how the project team addressed natural turnover. Accompanying the article are three sidebars: the first one looks at the project area's terrain. The second sidebar details the lags between project phases. The third sidebar explores the adjustments made to the project.
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