The team that built the CAA headquarters to its exceptionally high level of finish--proving to Pei's delight that Southern California craftsmen can match the best anywhere--was commanded by managing developer Bill McGregor, chief executive officer of the MacGregor Co.
Under McGregor was the contractor, Peck/Jones Construction, who controlled an array of subcontractors to carry out specialized operations, such as shaping the stonework, fabricating the steel and assembling the atrium skylight.
"The CAA job was very intricate," said Robert Hatch, president of DBM/Hatch Masonry in El Monte. "The stonework required an unusual accuracy of detail and assembly. This is a class act."
The stonemasons, like the specialists of Corona Aluminum, who devised the atrium skylight and the exterior curtain wall, used a computer-aided design program to calculate the CAA building's complex curves.
"This project was the most difficult of any we have done," said Ken Ellis, president of Corona Aluminum in Monterey Park. "Each piece of it is one of a kind, which made the mathematics very complicated. But we enjoyed the challenge."
"I'd put the degree of difficulty at a 9-plus, on a scale of 10," said Larry van der Hoek, vice president of Plas-Tal Manufacturing Co. in Santa Fe Springs. Plas-Tal fabricated the steel in the dramatically cantilevered ring beam that supports the atrium skylight.
"The architect was very demanding, but it was a highly enjoyable experience. I can't wait to do it again."