Creating continuity with stone

October 11, 2001
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The design of the Forsyth Center had to tie two buildings together as well as incorporate the existing parking garage that would service both buildings. The integration of the buildings was accomplished through the use of patterns in granite on the floors. Salmon Red granite, supplied by Emigran, was selected for the new construction, because of its homogenous color and beauty. Its warm tones integrated well with the granite in the existing building.

Three colors -- Absolute Black, Dakota Mahogany and Mahogany Red granite -- were used to accent the design in banding, striping and trim.
Phase Two of the construction of the Forsyth Center in St. Louis, MO, challenged the architects at ACI Boland to create a second building next door to an existing building belonging to the same owner. The design had to tie the buildings together as well as incorporate the existing parking garage that would service both buildings. This integration was accomplished through the use of patterns in granite for the floors and walls.

"The existing building has a large amount of granite flooring and wall panels," said Rick Clawson, architect/project manager for ACI Boland. The owner was quite happy with the quality, durability and presence of the stone, so we wanted to keep that natural beauty and the level of class that stone brings to a building."

The architect explained that the granite was not intended to be an exact match, but to complement and build upon the themes of the first building. "We selected Salmon Red [supplied by Emigran of Brazil] for the new construction," Clawson said. "Because of its homogenous color and beauty, it integrated well with the existing granite colors. We were looking for warm tones to use as the base color and then three accent colors -- Absolute Black, Dakota Mahogany and Mahogany Red granite -- were used to accent the design in banding, striping and trim." The Mahogany Red granite can be found in the existing building.

According to Clawson, the granite patterns were carefully designed to join the two buildings. "An integrating pattern of arching and sweeping bands of Absolute Black lead you through the space," he said. "These stripes also provide transition and terminate at specific points of interest, such as a 6-foot-high cascading water feature. Coordinating these designs and laying them out prior to the installation was a challenge, but the masons did a good job."

Many different sizes of stone were cut to create these patterns. The 3/4-inch wall panels were "thick set" as three vertical panels measuring 2 to 3 feet in length each, according to Clawson. These panels make up the 9-foot-high wainscot. The floor tiles, which also measure 3/4 inch thick, were laid in 24- and 30-inch squares. The total amount of stone employed in this project was approximately 9,600 square feet of granite for the flooring and 10,000 square feet for the wall panels -- a substantial amount of stone for a corporate building by Clawson's standards.

Global Granite & Marble in St. Louis, MO, supplied the stone elements for this project, including custom round columns, curved flamed steps, wall claddings around the elevators and in the lobby area, as well as the patterned floor tiles and accents. The pattern for these elements was a combination of Salmon Red and Absolute Black granites in both polished and flamed finishes, according to Elliot Uchitelle of Global Granite & Marble. The company also supplied the stone for the reception desk and the security desk as well as the outside ramp, which is flamed Salmon Red.

"We stayed onsite to help unload all the stone when it arrived," Uchitelle said. "It was important to have someone there who knew what was in each crate, and who could inspect the pieces and fix any damage that might have occurred during shipment. Because we did the shop drawings, we knew the layout. It was a big job that required teamwork."

The result exceeded all expectations. "Our goal was to create a space unequalled in St. Louis," said Clawson. "And the impression this project has made has been quite fantastic."

Credit Box

Forsyth Center

St. Louis, MO

Architect: ACI Boland, St. Louis, MO

Stone Supplier: Emigran, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Corsi & Nicolai, Italy

Wholesale Distributor: Global Granite & Marble, St. Louis, MO

Stone Installer: Leonard Masonry, Hazelwood, MO

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