From the street, it appears that the glass facade of the new Rio Suites Hotel, Las Vegas, wraps around the curved building like smooth cellophane. But the "curved" edge of each floor slab actually is segmented to fit the flat panes of glass. Had just one of these segments on a single floor been cast incorrectly, the glass would not have fit.

Design-build contractor Marnell Corrao Associates' secret to precisely locating edge forms for these segments--as well as columns and embeds on the Rio's nonrectilinear, kidney-shaped floor plan--was 37-year-old union carpenter Brian Russi. Using his own electronic distance measuring equipment (EDME) and a programmable calculator to establish control points, Russi cut layout time drastically while achieving accuracy. In effect, he produced straight vertical lines on a building that has no horizontal straight lines.