Stone in Architecture

2013 Pinnacle Award Winners

E ach year, the Marble Institute of America honors excellence in stone design with its Pinnacle Award Competition

April 1, 2014
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Sponsored annually by the Marble Institute of America (MIA), the Pinnacle Awards are given to projects whose beauty, creativity, ingenuity and craftsmanship exemplify professional mastery in the use of natural stone in commercial and residential environments. Here are the 2013 winners, which were honored during a presentation held during StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas in Las Vegas, NV, earlier this year.


Award of Excellence – Commercial Exterior; Grand Pinnacle Award

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park; Welfare Island, East River, New York, NY

In 1973, Welfare Island, a two-mile-long strip of land in the center of the East River of New York City, was renamed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the southernmost 4 acres were dedicated as a memorial for him, designed by the preeminent architect Louis I. Kahn. This is a very late work of Kahn’s and, arguably, his last complete design. The “Room,” the southernmost part of the completed design, is the physical realization of Kahn’s famous quote: “The walls parted and the columns became,” his notion about a basic relationship between two indispensable architectural elements. Though designed in the 1970s, the project evokes the eternal, a fitting memorial to Roosevelt’s legacy and his Four Freedoms (speech, worship, want, fear).

All granite that makes up Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park was quarried in Mount Airy, NC, at the North Carolina Granite Corp. This quarry is the world’s largest open-faced quarry — measuring half a square mile. It has been fully operational since 1743, and many of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects throughout the U.S. were built using this type of stone.

Roughly 24 million pounds – 12,100 tons – of granite were quarried to produce 7,700 tons – roughly 15 million pounds – of dimension granite. All excess stone has been used for other purposes — both on this project and other quarry projects. The solid granite blocks used to make the “Room” measure 6 x 6 x 12 feet and weigh 36 tons. These stones were too heavy to be trucked across the only bridge that connects Roosevelt Island to the mainland (Queens). Due to this weight restriction, all “Room” stones were trucked to New Jersey and then barged to the construction site.

Four Freedoms Park is the heaviest stone-setting job undertaken in New York City to date. The project required five different types of cranes and lifts and roughly 100 trained stone setters, all employed by Port Morris Tile & Marble Corp.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator: North Carolina Granite Corp., Mount Airy, NC

Other Project Team Members:

Architect: Louis I. Kahn, FAIA

Architect of Record: Mitchell Giurgola Architects

Construction Manager: F.J. Sciame Construction

Stone Installer: Port Morris Tile & Marble Corp. (MIA Member Company)


Award of Excellence – Commercial Exterior

Intuit Inc.; Silicon Valley, CA

Located in the heart of California’s well-known Silicon Valley, Intuit Inc. found itself in a unique design situation. The company occupies a campus in a series of buildings that were intended for use by multiple tenants. Over time, Intuit leased all of the campus’ buildings as its business expanded. With offices in more than a dozen buildings, it was challenging for employees to interact. The company wanted to unify its buildings and people. Landscape architecture with granite as a key design element became the means to achieve the intended outcome.

Mesabi Black® granite from Coldspring was used to construct water features, a rain garden, a pool bottom base and sculptural benches for seating. The granite was selected for the outdoor environment and heavy traffic, and Mesabi Black® delivered a striking backdrop for the water features. Mesabi Black® is produced in close proximity to the Coldspring manufacturing facility, which minimized transportation and helped the team adhere to sustainable practices. In all, the project required more than 6,500 square feet of granite.

The granite-formed water features, including a 100-foot water wall, contribute to the project’s sustainability goals while creating a spectacular arrival experience at the company’s global corporate headquarters. Narrow streams of water cascade from one feature to the next through the campus’ central area.

With their narrow design, the new water features minimize evaporation. Together with the new storm-water management system, rain garden and native plant choices, the project has reduced consumption of up to 12 Olympic-sized pools of potable water per year.

The new design also enables creative interaction among employees, inspiring innovation and collaboration. White noise from the water provides a calming atmosphere where people can gather. Granite benches not only provide space for rest and meeting, but also for outdoor work as well. The interior work environment has extended to the landscape — made possible with WiFi access across the campus.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator: Coldspring, Cold Spring, MN

Other Project Team Members:

Architect: AECOM

General Contractor: SC Builders

Stone Installer: DeAnza Tile (MIA Member Company)


Award of Excellence – Commercial Exterior

Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center; Denver, CO

Adjacent to the State Capitol, the 695,767-square-foot, $258 million Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in Denver encompasses courthouses for the Colorado Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, as well as a 12-story office building for support functions associated with the courts.

Coldspring’s Iridian® granite was selected for the Judicial Center's exterior. Coldspring fabricated four, 52-foot-tall Iridian® granite columns for the Judicial Center's front entry and 24 radial-clad Iridian® granite columns outside of the Learning Center.

The entire four-story court building is clad with granite. Rockville White® was used as a base up to the second floor and Iridian® was used above that. The first two floors of the adjoining 12-story office building are clad in Rockville White® granite, with precast panels above the second floor.

Coldspring's Lake Superior Green® was selected for the hardscape surfaces, including the plinth on which the building rests. As the plinth cascades down to the street level, it engages the community by offering seating areas for viewing parades and other events along the adjacent Civic Center Park. The west and east sides of the plinth's bleacher-style steps serve as storm water retention/water quality ponds. They define the planted environment to soften the building and give it a garden-like quality.

Beyond the plinth lies the plaza area, constructed of 3-inch-thick slab granite, soft-set on sand with a mechanical snow-melt system underneath to withstand Denver's harsh freeze-thaw conditions.

All walking areas feature a thermal finish for non-slip surfaces.

Thanks to the team's coordination and adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM), the Judicial Center opened two months ahead of schedule. Designed with a 100-year-plus lifespan, the completed Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center speaks to the future in terms of courtroom design and technology, with the flexibility to accommodate future needs.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator: Coldspring,
Cold Spring, MN

Other Project Team Members:

Architects: Fentress Architects of Denver (building structure), Civitas Inc. (hardscapes)

General Contractor: Mortenson Construction

Stone Installers: Gage Brothers Precast; The Gallegos Corp. (MIA Member Company)


Award of Excellence – Residential Interior/Exterior

Private Residence; Long Island, NY

The design team for this project gave Valders Stone & Marble, Inc. the following design objective: “Situated on the eastern shore of Long Island, the design of this beach house is conceived as emerging from the landscape. The house is composed of two elements: the main house and a pavilion situated on a base that extends into the landscape.

From the driveway entrance on the northern side, the house appears as a largely solid, stone-clad volume with rectangular perforations for the windows. In contrast, the more private southern facade is composed almost entirely of glass to maximize ocean views and sun exposure. What initially presents itself as a classic modern box unfolds to become an unexpectedly open sculptural figure.”

The design firm chose a warm beige/buff color palette for their design. The material needed to hold a specific color range, and the stone needed to be suitable for a multitude of applications.

Additionally, the material needed to perform well when installed horizontally and vertically in close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.

The unique performance characteristics and color of Wisconsin dolomite made it the obvious choice for the project.

Valders dolomitic limestone was used in several facets of this stunning modern design. Applications of the material included, but were not limited to: blind anchored exterior facade panels, light weight honeycomb panels for soffit/overhang applications, interior and exterior paving, pedestal paving, pool coping, weir stones, stair treads, site walls, landscape/hardscape applications and stone in its raw/natural form.

Eleven months lapsed between the setting of the first stone and the installation of the fire pit. Given the complexity of the project and the time frame for completion, the entire team of architects, engineers and builders combined their efforts to make this truly a dream come true.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator: Valders Stone & Marble Inc., Valders, WI

Other Project Team Members:

Design Firm: 1100 Architect

General Contractor: Bulgin & Associates

Stone Installer: Precision Stone, Inc.

Engineering and Shop Drawings: Picco Engineering (MIA Member Company)


Award of Excellence – Residential Interior/Exterior

Ardmore Residence; Singapore

Like an artful masterpiece, Ardmore Residence exhilarates, engages and inspires. Rising boldly above Singapore’s premier residential address, Ardmore Park, the 36-story residential tower, redefines the luxury living of an urban home with imagination, privileges and services that are exclusive to its residents.

The apartment’s spaces conjure up the harmony of a light-filled urban cocoon rising above the energy of the city. Orchard Road’s landmarks dazzle in crisp clarity from the apartments facing south, while the units with a north orientation enjoy Bukit Timah Hill’s lush green foliage. The living and dining wing opens to a double volume balcony that presents an impressive space for residents who enjoy entertaining at home in style, or simply relaxing in their luxury of space. At more than 2,000 square feet each, all of the 56 luxurious units have been fitted with premium stone finishes, carefully selected and processed to achieve the optimal aesthetical effect.

M&G inspected and selected the blocks directly from quarries located in Iran, Italy and Spain, and then fabricated according to the customized finishes of each unit type. The flat cut pieces and solid curved pieces for each unit were then laid out per the shop drawings, inspected and approved by the owner’s representatives, before individually numbered and packed for delivery to site.

In the main lobby, an impressive onyx feature wall captures the attention of visitors with its stunning book-matched effect. The blocks were individually selected to ensure consistency of the veining, then allocated to each elevation to create optimal symmetry when book-matched. The slabs were then cut and book-matched polished, laid out to visualize the effect and to mark the actual sizes to cut, before finally cutting to size. Special attention was paid to the curved corner pieces in order to achieve a similar book-matched effect as the flat pieces. The landscaped areas also feature granite in various thicknesses with radial cuts to complement the architectural style of the project.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator/Stone Installer: M&G Contracts (S) PTE LD, Singapore

Other Project Team Members:

Design Architect: UNStudio

Local Architect: Architects 61

General Contractor: Shimizu Corporation


Award of Excellence – Renovation and Restoration

632 Broadway, New York, NY

The 632 Broadway building is a Landmark Classical Revival designed by Robert Maynicke circa 1900. Recently, Ken Fishel, president of Renaissance Properties, began a building upgrade. The upgrade called for white marble wall panels and terrazzo floor. During demolition, mechanics discovered the original elaborate elevator cage buried behind walls and uncovered fragments of the original ceramic mosaic. Additionally, a piece of the original marble wainscot, crown and base were discovered behind panels. Knowing the importance of these finds, Miller Druck pursued the concept of restoring the lobby to the full grandeur of the original design. Campan Vert was selected for massive book-matched wall panels.

The trim stone, Indian Green marble, was fabricated to duplicate the original profiles. The tight schedule dictated the cubic trim be fabricated from 2cm and 3cm stock. Miller Druck had to ensure the crown molding was assembled and engineered to accept LED lighting recessed within the crown. The design team worked diligently to develop stone details mimicking the elaborate details of the original stone.

The original floor was handmade ceramic mosaics. Miller Druck worked with a local artisan to design a handmade stone mosaic — matching the details of the original mosaic. They contemplated using a machine-made mosaic but once seeing mockups of both, machine-made vs. handmade, there was no comparison. A custom laurel wreath was added within the vestibule area. Within the laurel wreath were the numbers “632,” the building's address. The stone tesserae consist of Empress Green, Absolute Black, Collemandina, Alicante, Lagos Gold, Verde Laguna, Rosa Tea and Calacatta.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator/Stone Installer: Miller Druck Specialty Contracting, Inc., New York, NY

Other Project Team Members:

Architects: Charles H. Henkels, AIA

General Contractor: Renaissance
Properties New York

Mosaic Floor: Marble and Stone
Creations, Inc.


Award of Excellence – Renovation/Restoration

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception; Wichita, KS

This project was a complex renovation of Wichita’s Catholic Cathedral originally built in 1910. The initial task was to catalog, measure and photograph the 35-foot-tall hand-carved rear altar also constructed in 1910. The Cathedral’s renovation called for dismantling the rear altar and relocating it 25 feet forward in the sanctuary, shorten the height by 5 feet and create a free-standing element with a walk through arched opening.

The free-standing design required Rugo Stone and their engineer to design two solid filled unit masonry piers to support the marble column element. Rugo’s highly skilled team measured and cataloged the hundreds of intricate hand-carved pieces, created shop drawings and numbered each piece of stone. Next, they dismantled the rear altar and safely crated and stored the stone for four months while the sanctuary was demolished and the new masonry support structure was constructed.

Once the rear altar structural support was completed, Rugo erected the historic marble to meet the new free-standing design. Rugo restored the rear altar damage and cleaned all the candle wax and dirt which had accumulated over 100 years of service. Rugo also dismantled a very fragile tabernacle element, made small modifications/additions and installed it in front of the new free-standing rear altar.

The new sanctuary design called for a dark black granite paving installed in the form of a cross, with accents of white Carrara C, which had to match the materials used on the rear altar. Rugo constructed a complex baptismal font, with many complex radial pieces, which had to be coordinated with the water circulation system. They also provided new elements for the ambo and fabricated a new front altar with small columns of Paonazzo marble to match the rear altar columns.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator/Stone Installer: Rugo Stone, LLC, Lorton, VA

Other Project Team Members:

Architect: Architectural Innovations LLC

General Contractor: Simpson Construction, Inc.

Stone Fabricator: Santucci Armando, S.R.L. (MIA Member Company)


Award of Merit – Commercial Exterior

City Creek Center; Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City’s 23-acre City Creek Center is the perfect balance of modern innovation and natural beauty. A LEED Gold-certified project, City Creek Center is part of a revitalization plan to re-establish the city’s downtown as a vibrant economic and cultural center. One of the Center’s most impressive features is the amazingly accurate replica of City Creek, the project’s namesake. The realistic man-made creek flows through two city blocks and includes three waterfalls, with the tallest measuring 18 feet high. 3D models of each cascade were created to assist in the careful selection of the project’s 275 boulders. Boulders were quarried locally so that the stone would be natural to the area and consistent with the architect’s desired color range.

The City Creek Center also features seven unique natural stone fountains, with three offering interactive experiences.

The “Flutter” and “Transcend” fountains capture the attention of patrons with their choreographed fire and water displays, while “Engage” invites children to interact with its energetic bursts of water. The project incorporates seven different granites and two types of sandstone totaling 15,400 cubic feet of natural stone. Coldspring fabricated the Mesabi Black® and Prairie Brown granites used for several of the fountains, including the pieces requiring perfectly positioned holes for water jets, light fixtures and fire nozzles. Bestview International fabricated the Sunset Gold granite used in the project’s intricately designed 12-piece paving pattern, and Yellow Supreme, Giallo Veneziano, Giallo Imperial and Black Rain granites used in the project’s exterior cladding. Cladding contractor KEPCO+ installed the stonework for all of the water features and much of the paving. The success of this project would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts of the complete stone team. The City Creek Center is enjoyed by all and will share its beauty, innovation and tranquility with both locals and visitors for generations to come.

MIA Member Companies:

Stone Suppliers/Stone Fabricators: Bestview International, Glenview, IL; Coldspring, Cold Spring, MN

Stone Installer: KEPCO+, Salt Lake City, UT

Other Project Team Members:

Architects: SWA Group, WET Design, Hobbs & Black, CMS Collaborative Inc.

General Contractor: Jacobsen Construction

Stone Installer: Caffal Tile & Stone Co., Inc. (MIA Member Company)

Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator: Delta Stone


Award of Merit – Commercial Exterior

Place d’Armes; Montreal, Canada

The Place d’Armes project was not only to completely refurbish one of the most visited plazas in Montreal, but also to lower it to street level. The same running bond pattern paving was used for the plaza, crosswalks and streets requiring many different thicknesses, all with a 5 mm bevel on top and bottom to avoid lippage. The mix of color was not random, but an established pattern and every single piece had to be numbered and crated in sequence.

Additionally, to the color/finish/thickness mix, two other factors were complicating the fabrication. Because the two main streets on the North and South sides of the plaza are not perfectly parallel, a few bonds had to be fabricated with slight angles to adjust without it being noticeable. Also, all the end pieces abutting the historical buildings had to be shop ticketed for a perfect fit without any field cutting. Aside from the logistical complexity, the multiple dimensions required in each color/finish/thickness allowed the recovery of waste to fabricate smaller pieces from the nonconforming larger ones. Cobblestones of the former plaza were also reused as accents.

Now complete, the new plaza is one of the nicest touristic, gathering places in Montreal, and will withstand even the harsh Montreal climate and the abuse of snow removal equipment.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator: Polycor Inc., Quebec, Canada

Other Project Team Members:

Architect: Cardinal Hardy

General Contractor/Installer: Terramex


Award of Merit – Commercial Interior

Music City Center; Nashville, TN

Associated Imports was contracted as the prime contractor to supply, fabricate and install the natural stone building veneer at both the interior and exterior locations of the Music City Center. By collaborating with TVS Design early in the design phase, they were able to size the limestone panels at 15 inches tall, which maximized the block usage and minimized the waste, which in turn provided the best overall value to the project. This particular quarry layer was 48 inches tall and, when processed into three 15 inches tall vein cut panels, it yielded three fairly distinctive panels: light vein, heavy vein and a no vein, or “mud” panel. Once properly blended onsite, the end project was seamless. This early involvement allowed for optimal stone usage and coordination/alignment with other materials, such as window mullions, metal panels and brick coursing.

In addition to the 24,500 square feet of exterior limestone veneer, 4,500 square feet of cubic stone caps and 2,200 square feet of exterior granite, the interior concourse hosted the most dramatic stone facades. The main concourse contained three large feature walls, each 125 feet long and 35 feet high. Each wall was accentuated with pocket lights trimmed in acrylic. This combination provided a great ambiance when viewed from both the interior and the exterior.

The project earned a LEED Silver certification. Sustainability features included a 4-acre green roof and 260,000-gallon rain water retention tank. Associated Imports was able to contribute by providing local and recycled setting materials, including thin-set, grout and the stone joint sealants.

Associated Imports also directed 20% of the contract value to help meet the overall project’s goals for the DBE participation. As a whole, over 130 minority/women/disadvantaged businesses were contracted for the project.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Fabricator/Stone Installer: Associated Imports, Atlanta, GA

Other Project Team Members:

Architects: TVS Design, Tuck Hinton Architects, Moody-Nolan Architects

Construction Manager: Bell/Clark a Joint Venture

Stone Fabricator/Stone Supplier: Jurassic Marble Suppliers


Award of Merit – Commercial Interior

Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. World Headquarters; Boston, MA

The project encompasses the expansion of the Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. world headquarters within an urban corporate campus in Boston, MA. The new 22-story office building lobby is an elegant two-story space connected by a grand staircase of stone and glass. The first floor lobby welcomes employees and visitors into the building. The second floor lobby connects to a pedestrian bridge and corporate cafeteria. The lobby walls are comprised of a series of articulated travertine panels accented by floor-to-ceiling light coves that highlight the articulation. Dark cherry wood panels complement the 10,000 square feet of Roman travertine. The floors consist of two types of North American granite: Jet Mist and Cambrian Black featuring thermal finishes. The most challenging aspect of the interior installation was the use of Roman travertine. The design plan called for a completely uniform background color with individual stones placed randomly to avoid a repetitive pattern.

This was achieved by having the project team make six trips to Italy. The initial trip entailed reviewing the slabs to establish the allowable range of material and size of the allowable fissures. Subsequent trips included visiting the quarry to hand select the seven blocks required for the project and a trip to the fabrication facility to review the slabs from the selected blocks to ensure that they met the design intent and the allowable range approved during the initial trip.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Installer: Kenneth Castellucci & Associates, Inc., Lincoln, RI

Other Project Team Members:

Architect: CBT Architects

Construction Manager: Turner Construction Co.

Stone Suppliers: Polycor (MIA Member Company), Euromarble, Granites of America

Stone Fabricator: Euromarble; Structural Stone, LLC


Award of Merit – Commercial Interior

Renaissance Shanghai Putuo Hotel; Shanghai, P.R.C.

This five-star Renaissance Hotel was built in the up-and-coming Putuo district of Shanghai. The contemporary interior, designed by VOA Architects, is themed around wind patterns. The client wished to add a floor pattern that was minimal and contemporary, yet bring in elements more organic than can be achieved with typical pavers or tile.

The floor pattern was developed to follow the curvatures of the ceiling patterns and the flow of traffic from entry to reception desk to guest rooms and through the bar and seating areas. The client also requested that the design include a representation of the RuYi, a ceremonial scepter or talisman, and a Chinese symbol of power and good fortune. This object was subtly integrated into the linear patterns of “wind.”

Because of the long curves of this pattern, the main challenge of this project was the fit from factory to jobsite installation. This was ensured through complete factory layout and dry-fitting at the site. Also, to ensure the continuity of the pattern, the color, tone and texture of each of the four beige stones had to be carefully planned, so they would be clear and distinguishable from each other, yet subtle so as to not take away from the rest of the lobby features. The lobby and bar areas are approximately 8,000 square feet.

MIA Member Company:

Floor Design and Fabrication: Creative Edge Master Shop, Inc., Fairfield, IA

Other Project Team Members:

Interior Designer: VOA Architects

Floor Design and Fabrication: Aalto Design FNW Co.


Award of Merit – Residential Interior/Exterior

Sukhothai Residences Unit K. Chumpol; Bangkok, Thailand

The design of the living room and dining room is primarily inspired by the architecture and interior design of the adjacent Sukhothai Hotel. There is an evocation of the Thai culture, religion and architecture. The design aims to theatrically create an atmosphere conducive of spirituality, serenity and refinement.

The main stone material, a honed black basalt, contributes to creating mystery and serenity. The plain black color of the stone reacts to the lighting featuring shades of medium grays to deep black which dramatizes the “mise en scene” of the Thai artworks.

The Thai-style arch which separates the foyer from the dining area features a split-face mosaic designed by Stones and Roses International.

The mandala panel separates the dining area and the living room. It features concentric circles carved into the stone at increasing depths. It was a deliberate choice to execute this piece of work mostly by hand to bring a sense of humanity.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator/Stone Installer: Stones and Roses International Co. Ltd., Samutprakam, Thailand

Other Project Team Members:

Architect: Gooseberry Design

General Contractor: Classic House Furniture Co. Ltd.


Craftsmanship Special Award of Merit – Residential Interior/Exterior

Private Residence; Stockholm, Sweden

This project began four years ago in a meeting with architects. The meeting concluded with one goal: white statuario marble, very characteristic, big tiles and book-matched.

Most blocks did not fulfill the requests, but finally, one was found. It was a very sound block with the right dimensions and heavily veined. Realizing that it would be much more difficult to achieve the look with this strong veining, the project forged ahead. Sketches were made of the best use of the material.

StenCentrum staff went to Stockholm to measure the two bathrooms in question. After making drawings of the rooms, slabs were compared to the drawings spread all over the workshop. Realizing dimensions from the architect’s drawings could not be followed, new sizes were created to follow the book-matched pattern. Frames to doors, windows and shelves were carefully cut to book-match the wall pieces.

The project was a huge challenge, with a lot of ideas and requests from both client and architects. Without the supplier, my workshop and field staff, this project would not have been possible.

MIA Member Company:

Floor Design and Fabrication: Creative Edge Master Shop, Inc., Fairfield, IA

Other Project Team Members:

Interior Designer: VOA Architects

Floor Design and Fabrication: Aalto Design FNW Co.

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