Harma, New York City

Photo By Jim D'Angelo, Desai Communications

The design-build team renovating this audio equipment company's first North American flagship store set out to build a retail space of the future that allows consumers to do more than just browse and buy.

The 8,500-sq-ft project included several elements not typically found at other such outlets—namely, a home theater in the basement, a sound stage for live performances and interactive sections for consumers to test headphones. Project finishes included high-end wood and lacquer finishes on the existing staircase, teak flooring, an exposed wall of speakers and "hanging clouds" with built-in acoustics to amplify the sound.

Since most of the project's materials were shipped from abroad, long procurement lead times were the norm. The list of items from afar included wall panels coming from the United Kingdom, ceiling fixtures from Germany and flooring from Hong Kong. As some of the materials were extremely fragile, the team managed the installation process throughout the project.

Realizing that the procurement situation could cause delays to the schedule, the team expedited the process by identifying critical path activities and finding work-arounds. These included starting with the materials on hand and preparing the site for last-minute arrivals.

Strong communication among all team members and the client also helped, the general contractor said. The team worked with vendors and subcontractors to ensure the schedule was met, and it held weekly meetings with the mill worker throughout the project's duration.

One judge gave this project high marks for the team's ability to navigate the procurement process and recognize that things could go wrong and disrupt the schedule if there were not a well-thought-out plan of attack.

Key Players

Owner Harman International Industries

General Contractor Shawmut Design and Construction

Design Gensler

MEP Henderson Engineers, Inc.