Global Design and Building Practice: A Case Study of Hearst Headquarters, New York, NY


Vol. 4 No. 1 (2007)
Research Articles
May 6, 2007


This paper describes aspects of "Global Design and Building Practice”, a research started at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 2002. The objective of this investigation is to provide design and building professionals and researchers with a better understanding of the impacts of globalization on practice. In this research, the impacts of globalization on practice are examined both in breadth and depth. Processes involve qualitative analyses of interviews with design and building professionals and researchers, quantitative analyses of project data, and in-depth case studies of recent and current "global building projects”, i.e. projects for which spatial extensity of actors extends beyond the local. This paper presents a diversified analytic framework of four distinct global project types. It analyzes the principles behind the transformation of practice and demonstrates the correlations between different global project types and the impacts on practice based on "project DNA”, an innovative concept that acknowledges that it is not only the characteristics of each configuring actor that matters in a global project, but rather the configuration as a whole and the position of each actor within it that determines the its characteristics and impacts on practice. Both global project type and project DNA are illustrated with the summary of an in-depth case study of Hearst Headquarters, a recently completed global project in New York, NY.