Mon, Sep 20, 2010 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Architect blames Palace Museum for lacking will

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTER

“During the time that we were working on this museum, we created an abundance of [buildings] around the world, and so it’s not that we don’t know how to do projects,” he said.

“The NPM is trying to make it sound like the [budget problems] were a fundamental issue, but they were really not,” he said. “They tell you how much money they have to spend and they figure out the costs and we work together to make the thing work, but you need a team approach to do this.”

Instead, he said that throughout the five years that his firm worked on the project, the NPM changed director three times. Each director saw the project differently, committed to different building budgets and imposed more restrictions on the subcontractors working on the new building. NPM officials walked out of a meeting in February 2008, he said, because they refused to make a decision on whether to build base isolation — an ­important measure against earthquake damage.

“I think we were just stunned. It just didn’t make any sense. Our structural engineer flew in from [the US] to give the presentation and they decided they just didn’t want to see this. They said that we could just give it to another [subcontractor],” he said

“They couldn’t decide on whether to commit to the [proposal], so they just kept it pending there. You as an architect can’t make this decision for your client,” he said.

APA left the project nine months later. Asked whether the firm would consider returning to the project — which still has its winning design listed on the NPM southern branch Web site — Fehlau did not give a definite answer.

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