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Already part of history, Turner City now digital

Already part of history,
Turner City now digital

by MIKE HRYMAK | Jul 15, 2015

Since 1910, New York City-based Turner Construction Co. has commissioned one annual illustrated mashup of its top projects at the close of every year. What started as an “innovative marketing tool that would showcase the young company’s success,” says the National Building Museum, over time transformed into a colorful historical record of not just one company's growth, but that of an entire industry. This year, in keeping with the times, the imaginary Turner City finally went digital.

Historically, the intricate artwork had been drawn by hand, but this spring, that tradition gained a new dimension. Skilled BIM specialists, working with Turner colleagues around the world and a vast online portfolio, developed a detailed model for each structure to be included in the diverse city layout of Turner City 2014. The results can now be accessed via an interactive online map, as well as seen via "fly thru" in the video below. 

BIM expert Satoshi Kiyoni works on the latest model this spring.

BIM expert Satoshi Kiyoni works on the latest model this spring.

The latest, virtual edition features 129 projects in eight different countries, including Levi’s Stadium, in Santa Clara CA, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York, the Torre BBVA Bancomer Tower in Mexico City, and many more. 

“It’s exciting to take part in something that is such a wonderful tradition, something everyone looks forward to," said Turner BIM manager Ben Ferrer in a company press release. "Seeing your project in Turner City is a really proud moment.” 

Added Turner VP and Chief Innovation Officer Jim Barrett, “Part of that process of continuous improvement has to do with developing new tech tools, but it also has to do with finding new and creative ways to use the tech we have. The BIM approach is a great example of how we can take a technology that has become an industry standard and apply it in a unique way to create new value.”

[This] is a great example of how we can take a technology that has become an industry standard and apply it in a unique way to create new value.
— Jim Barrett, VP & CIO, Turner Construction

Eight years after Henry C. Turner founded the building company in 1902, he hired illustrator Richard W. Rummel to create a composite of all the projects the firm had done to date. He asked for a single cityscape that displayed two sides of each building, preferably one showing a front entrance. This first painting, which combined more than eight years of work in six cities, would set the standard for each 'Turner City' that would follow.

Today, Turner is an international firm owned by German and Spanish interests, so its annual project snapshot is decidedly more global and more diverse. In fact, rumor has it that the next Turner City may even measure its own sustainability. If so, that fanciful but telling exercise will be yet another reflection of the changing times in which the firm, itself, has managed to adapt and flourish. 

This spring, to honor its tradition and note the digital transition, Turner released a behind-the-scenes video,"The Making of Turner City 2014" (below). To view the entire Turner City series, visit here. (Looking for a gift? Incredibly, the National Building Museum even sells a Turner City Tote Bag!) 

Rob McManamy also contributed to this story. 

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