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When “60 Minutes,” the CBS News show, secured an exclusive interview with a member of the Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden, one of the first things it did was search for a model maker who could replicate the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
“I said, ‘We have to do a model,’ since to my mind, I couldn’t understand the story without it,” said Henry Schuster, a producer at “60 Minutes.” “A model is the original 3-D, it allows you to see everything at scale, and spatially, you can move from place to place and get a sense of progression that isn’t possible with fancy graphics.”
To find someone who could replicate Bin Laden’s home and its surroundings in miniature, the producers called various experts for recommendations, including Robert A. M. Stern, the architect and dean of the Yale School of Architecture. At the top of everyone’s list was Richard Tenguerian, 57, a model maker who has spent the past three decades working for some of the world’s most famous architects from his basement workshop on Lafayette Street near Astor Place.
One of a handful of people in New York who practice the craft of making building models, Mr. Tenguerian, who was born in Aleppo, Syria, and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, has worked for the likes of Richard Meier, Philip Johnson and Renzo Piano. His replica of Bin Laden’s compound is now on display at the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Fla., while his model of the new Yankee Stadium was featured in the groundbreaking with then-Governor George E. Pataki and is part of a permanent exhibit at the New York Yankees museum.