Granite creates a "signature class" project

July 1, 2003
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The Las Olas City Centre is a recently built 844,000-square-foot mixed-use office and retail project, located in the center of downtown Fort Lauderdale, FL. Cooper Carry Architects of Atlanta, GA, was commissioned to design the 23-story facility, which houses tenants such as Bank of America, Greenberg Traurig and Premiere Business Offices.

"The overall design goal was to develop a signature class mixed use office/retail project, which would enhance the continued redevelopment and activity in downtown Ft. Lauderdale," said Lauren Ronat, senior interior designer at Cooper Carry.

Both the exterior and interior of the building feature granites chosen to portray an upscale environment. A total of 4,953 square feet of granite was used, including Coral Gray and Carioca Gold -- supplied by International Marble & Granite, Inc. of Shawnee Mission, KS -- and Blue Pearl GT, supplied by Opus Stone, Inc. The stone was fabricated by Granicor of Quebec, Canada. "We chose granite for its strength, durability and easy maintenance," said Ronat.

On the exterior, Coral Gray granite was used for the fountain, column bases and planter walls at the arcade as well as a vertical wall surround at the building entry and the pavers. All of the stone was polished, with the exception of the outdoor pavers, which were thermal-finished.

Inside the building, a combination of Carioca Gold and Blue Pearl GT was used for the interior lobby floors. Meanwhile, the walls were clad with Coral Gray granite -- which presented some difficulty during the stone selection process. "The biggest challenge [in regards to the stone] was to find slabs big enough for some very large pieces on the walls," said Ronat. "We checked through each of the approximately 220 slabs to designate specific slabs to specific areas. With smaller stone pieces, we could cut around inclusions in the slab. The large pieces, as big as 6 feet, 7 inches by 5 feet, 7 inches had to be culled from an almost perfectly clean and even slab."

A total of 16 workers from JAG Marble & Tile of Miami, FL, installed all of the interior stone, which was 2 cm thick and weighed approximately 15 pounds per square foot.

The installation of the interior stone panels created a unique challenge for the workers.

The centre's original plans called for the interior granite wall cladding to be installed after a significant wood-clad ceiling structure was in place. However, the plans only left a 1-inch clearance to the face of the stone. "The 1-inch tolerance prohibited mechanical fastening," said Greg Weisman, who was vice president of JAG at the time of the project.

Therefore, the workers chose to use Latapoxy 310 Stone Adhesive to install the wall panels. "It was quicker overall to use the adhesive rather than mechanical fastening," said Weisman. Another benefit of using the adhesive is that any future repairs to the building's stone can be isolated to a single panel rather than to multiple panels.

Construction began in December 2000 and ended in August 2002. "The reaction has been an overwhelming success. It has integrated seamlessly into the fabric of downtown, with its many eateries frequented by the lunchtime business crowd," said Ronat. "I was told by the owners that for the month of December -- just a couple of months after it opened -- the lobby was booked every other night for holiday parties. It is the signature building in downtown Ft. Lauderdale."

Las Olas City Centre, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Architect: Cooper Carry Architects, Atlanta, GA
General Contractor: Stiles Construction Co., Fort Lauderdale, FL
Stone Installer: JAG Marble & Tile, Inc., Miami, FL
Stone Suppliers: International Marble & Granite, Inc., Shawnee Mission, KS (Coral Gray, Carioca Gold); Opus Stone, Inc. (Blue Pearl GT)
Stone Installation Products: Laticrete International, Inc., Bethany, CT

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