Innovation and distinction at 2002 Prism Awards

August 15, 2002
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The 2002 winners of the Prism International Natural Stone Design Competition, the 3rd annual celebration of the creative use of natural stone in design and architecture, were presented at Coverings' All Industry Awards Breakfast in Orlando, FL, on May 9. The ceremony served as a tribute to the diversity of natural stone, and also was a geography lesson of sorts, as projects were honored from around the U.S. and even in South America.

The awards program, offering a grand prize of $10,000, was sponsored by Coverings as a means of seeking out and rewarding innovation and excellence in the use of natural stone in commercial and residential building/remodel projects. Entry was open to professionals involved in the distribution, specification, manufacturing, retailing, installation or design of natural stone projects. A panel of professionals from interior design, architecture and construction associations, such as AIA, ASID, IIDA, CSI and TCAA, served as the jury.

Entries were judged on the basis of outstanding creativity, originality and the ability to meet the technical and functional requirement of the project.

  • Grand Prize: United Arab Emirates Chancery Building, Washington, D.C.

  • Commercial Building/Remodel - First Prize: McClurg Hall, University of the South, Sewanee, TN

  • Residential Building/Remodel - First Prize: John Cirino Residence, Kirtland, OH

  • Commercial - Award of Merit: Salentein Winery, Mendoza, Argentina

  • Residential - Award of Merit: Nowlin Residence, Austin, TX


Grand Award

New Chancery for the United Arab Emirates, Washington, D.C.

Entrant: Rugo & Carosi LLC, Woodbridge, VA

Fabricators: North Carolina Granite Corp.; Marmi Vicentini; Pisani Brothers

Designer: Angelos Demetriou & Associates, Washington, DC

Contractor: Rugo & Carosi LLC, Woodbridge, VA

Project Description:

The new chancery building for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), located in Washington, DC, claimed the Grand Prize award of $10,000. Termed an "all-stone building" by Brett S. Rugo, president of Rugo & Carosi LLC, Natural Stone & Mosaic Contractors, of Woodbridge, VA, the new building was designed by architect Angelos Demetriou to house the offices of the UAE ambassador and entire diplomatic staff. According to Demetriou, the point was not to imitate traditional Islamic architecture, but to create out of it. To achieve this, the architect specified honed, thermal and mirror-polished surfaces for the building's granite exterior, sometimes incorporating all three finishes in one piece of granite. A total of 13 different types of granite, marble and quartzite stones were used in the project. The pure Mt. Airy granite panels, used for the exterior facade, were fabricated by the North Carolina Granite Corp. The entire exterior site is covered in 2-inch-thick mudset granite paving, and several solid granite staircases grace the rear of the building.

For the interior, the Mt. Airy granite was bookmatched for the grand staircase and slip-matched for the floor of the Banquet Hall, which is also inlaid with two large Arabic patterned marble "carpets." These elements were completely pre-assembled and dry set for inspection in Italy prior to shipment. The Azul Bahia slabs for the medallion accent pieces were hand selected to achieve the strongest accent of the stone's dark blue coloration against the brilliant white tones of the Mt. Airy granite. In all, Rugo & Carosi installed 65,795 square feet of exterior wall and site stone and 28,760 square feet of slip or bookmatched patterned marble to complete the project.

Commercial Category - First Prize

McClurg Hall, University of the South, Sewanee, TN

Entrant: Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates,

New York, NY

Fabricators: University of the South, Sewanee, TN, Houston King, Stonemason; Gillis Quarries Ltd., Winnipeg, Canada; Georgia Marble Co., Tate, GA

Architect: Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates,

New York, NY

Contractor: Orion Construction, Nashville, TN

Engineer: Office of Griffith Burr, Inc., Memphis, TN

Project Description:

The architecture firm of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates in New York, NY, submitted Prism's First Prize-winning project of $2,500 in the category of Commercial Building/Remodel. McClurg Hall, at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, is a 43,000-square-foot building that honors the Gothic spirit of the campus' traditional stone architecture. For the construction of the building, which is primarily used as a student dining hall, the school re-opened its long-closed, on-site sandstone quarries which originally provided the materials for most of the campus structures. The exterior of the building's formal 450-seat refectory features a total of 13 sandstone "buttresses," each measuring 39 feet high and capped by 9-foot-high, sawn-cut limestone finials. These buttresses are separated by floor-to-ceiling, metal-finned glass curtainwall and terminate in a semi-circular glazed "apse." The split and cut stone faces of the sandstone from the school's quarry were sized to 8 inches and 16 inches high x 8 inches thick x random lengths. Gillis Quarries Ltd. of Winnipeg, Canada, provided the limestone material for the finials, which are 108 inches high x 30 inches thick x 30 inches long. The roof of the building is covered in multi-colored slate shingles, which also are found throughout the campus to signify important buildings.

Residential Category - First Prize

Master Bath Addition / John Cirino Residence, Kirtland, OH

Entrant: Everything Mosaics, Grand River, OH

Manufacturer: Lithos, Martina Franca, Italy

Fabricators: O'Brien Cut Stone; Euclid Precision Grinding; The Wire Shop

Fabricator/Contractor: Everything Mosaics

Distributor: Keys Granite, Miami, FL

Architect: Ann Duning

Designer: Anthony Cirino, Everything Mosaics

Project Description:

The First Prize Award of $2,500 in the Residential Building/Remodel category was awarded to the 245-square-foot master bath addition to a 70-year-old stone house in Kirtland, OH. Submitted by Everything Mosaics of Grand River, OH, the house was built from sandstone quarried on the property, and the same stone needed for the addition was similarly quarried on the site. The property owners were remodeling the home to reflect a Tuscan villa ambiance, and toward that goal, only natural materials such as marble, stone and wood were used. Much research was conducted to ensure that an authentic Old World look would be achieved, and they also sought to recycle existing materials wherever possible. The original limestone from the living room floor was sandblasted and used for the walls of the new addition as well as the crown molding in the bath and shower. This proved to be a challenge, as all the pieces were of different thicknesses and had to be cut into 11- x 5-inch rectangles for the shower walls. All the limestone walls were set in a running bond pattern. Hand-polished Breccia de Vendome marble was used for the room's four vanity tops and the 80- x 110- inch tub deck. The room's marble floor pattern was created from Crema Valencia, Rosso Verona and Breccia Vendome marble, all cut on site except for the hexagons, which were waterjet-cut off site.

Commercial - Award of Merit

Bodegas "Salentein" (Salentein Winery)

Alto Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina

Entrant: Bormida & Yanzon Architects, Mendoza, Argentina

Fabricator: El Palacio de la Piedra, de J.C. Agnello, Mendoza, Argentina

Architect: Bormida & Yanzon Architects

Contractor: Santiago Monteverdi C.C.S.A., Mendoza, Argentina

Project Description:

The subterranean stone floor of an important viticulture company in Mendoza, Argentina, was the $1,500 Award of Merit Winner in the Commercial category. Submitted by the architects, Borminda & Yanzon, the circular floor was designed for Salentein Winery, whose industrial plant is situated in a high valley at the foot of the Andes Mountains in mid-west Argentina. The concept of the winery's architectural design was to excavate a round hall deep into the earth to shelter the oak kegs while the wine matures. The architects designed a cross-shaped layout with four naves, inspired by ancient centralized classical temples. This also gives the central area, which can be seen from the ground level entrance several stories above, an important formal and symbolic value that could be expressed appropriately in its proportions, materials, details and illumination. Bormida & Yanzon chose a modern compass design, with tips oriented toward the cardinal points as a means of relating this winery from Mendoza to the rest of the world. To accomplish this design, natural stones were selected from the Cuyo Region, where the winery is located. The work was carried out by combining state-of-the-art machinery with traditional artisan skills. Three types of stones were used - a polished yellow quartzite sandstone, a green chlorite type schist with a rough surface and a red limolitic sandstone with a polished surface. The colors, textures and finishes were all natural and only virgin wax was used for highlighting.

Residential - Award of Merit

Nowlin Residence, Austin, TX

Entrant: Philippe Klinefelter, Architectural Sculptor, Austin, TX

Fabricator: Continental Mills, Florence, TX

Stone Supplier: Cold Spring Granite Corp., Cold Spring, MN

Architect: Paul Lamb Architects, Austin, TX

Architectural Sculptor: Philippe Klinefelter

General Contractor/Stone Contractor: Escovedo Construction, Austin, TX<

Project Description:

This project, which is based on the stonework of the pre-Columbian civilization of the ancient Mayan culture, received Prism's $1,500 Merit Award for Residential Building/Remodel. Architectural sculptor Philippe Klinefelter, of Austin, TX, is passionate about this ancient culture and saw the unique project as an exceptional chance to pay homage to the great stoneworkers of the past. During the four years that the home was under construction, three trips were made to Central America to study the great archeological sites of the Maya first-hand. A group of very skilled masons were employed to fit the stone, totally without mortar and doweled together with hidden stainless steel rods. Although this was a very slow and laborious process, the finished work was of unsurpassed quality. Besides the stone detailing of the loggia's Mayan-influenced sculptural frieze and corbelled vaults - both of which are typical of that culture's construction - Klinefelter was also responsible for the design and execution of such sculptural details as the multi-layered green granite and obsidian "ball court" rings surrounding the pool area. These were built in the shape of a traditional Mayan ball court, with a 20-sided stone inset in the wall beyond the ball court to represent the famous Inca stone of Cousco, with its 13 sides. Klinefelter chose to make it 20-sided because 20 was a sacred number in the Mayan culture. The sculptor also created a 12,000-pound granite "turtle shell" fountain and nine carved walnut columns.

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