Limestone provides a complementary element for Texas church

February 8, 2001
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
The Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Port Arthur, TX, utilizes Texas limestone as a key element of the design.


"The stone was chosen for its texture and color," explained architect Paul N. Hay, AIA. "White brick was utilized on the existing parish campus, and we wanted the old and new to blend."<
The design the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Port Arthur, TX, had a dual purpose -- to provide a complementary backdrop to the sculpture and to reflect the surrounding Southwestern environment. In the end, natural stone was used by the Architectural Alliance to achieve both of these objectives.

"The design goal was to create an environment that represented the faith, heritage and values of the parish, and provided a quiet place for meditation and prayer," explained Paul N. Hay, AIA, of the Architectural Alliance. "A larger-than-life sculpture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, standing on a barren hilltop, is the focal point of the shrine -- with the plaza and buildings simply creating a setting and background for the sculpture."

A primary building material for the project is white Texas limestone, supplied by Marx Building Stone of Leander, TX. According to the architect, the limestone was used in a horizontal ashlar pattern, with pieces measuring 4 to 8 inches tall. "The stone was chosen for its texture and color," Hay said. "White brick was utilized on the existing parish campus, and we wanted the old and new to blend. We had used this stone on a facility in Dayton, TX, so we were familiar with it, and we only had to make one sample panel."

In addition to complementing the surroundings of the parish, the stone helped recreate the classic architecture of the region. "The parish wanted to create a space that was reminiscent of Mexican colonial architecture," Hay said. "The limestone ties in to West Texas and to Mexico. We looked at quite a few stones. The mission style is primarily adobe, but we didn't want to use stucco. We wanted a more durable material, but one that had something with the soft feel that stucco has. The stone helped create a statement of elegance, yet [also] transmits a statement of permanence."

An interesting aspect of the project is the fact that the stonework is load bearing. The stone is adhered to the cmu with masonry ties, and the arches are load-transfer arches built with the stone.<

Load-bearing stone

An interesting aspect of the project is the fact that the stonework is load bearing. "We had done this type of work before." Hay said. "I've spent quite a few years in central and South America, and used a lot of stone, adobe and natural materials. By using load-bearing stone, the advantage is that you save on the structure because you don't have two structural systems. The stone is adhered to the cmu with masonry ties, and the arches are load-transfer arches built with the stone.

"The most difficult aspect could have been finding qualified stone masons," Hay continued. "We were fortunate to find a company in Houston [Hernandez Masonry] that had masons from Mexico with experience working with this material. We have very good brick masons, but we don't use a lot of stone in Southeast Texas. They really were artisans, and they did a great job."

With the masons in place, implementing the design went smoothly. According to Hay, the project started three years ago, and was completed with leadership provided by the pastor, Father T.R. Blanco. "The white limestone, arches and cast stone elements all blended together and helped create the environment that the parish had been dreaming about for over 30 years," Hay said, adding that the project was also satisfying for the Architectural Alliance. "This was one of the highlights of our year. You don't have the opportunity to design shrines too often. We are planning to use more of this particular stone in Southeast Texas. We're doing a church in Livingston right now that will utilize the same material."

Credit Box:

Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine

Port Arthur, TX

Architect: Architectural Alliance, Inc., Beaumont, TX

General Contractor: Pelco Construction Co., Liberty, TX

Stone Supplier: Marx Building Stone, Leander, TX

Masonry Contractor: Hernandez Masonry, Houston, TX

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Stone World 

Recent Articles by Michael Reis

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

The Stone Fashion Show at Marmomacc in Verona

As usual, stone suppliers from Italy and around the world relied on the Marmomacc fair to showcase some of the latest stone materials to the international marketplace. The following is a look at just some of the stone materials on display in Verona.

Stone World Magazine

Stone World July 2014 cover

July 2014

Check out the latest issue of Stone World, which includes a review of the 2014 Coverings conference.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

CSTD Summer 2014 cover

2014 Summer

Check out articles about the Windy Creek Casino renovation,the El Alear Condominium complex in San Pedro Garza Garcia, and a Coverings product review.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

STONE STANDARD

Are you aware of the new stone standard – ANSI/NSC 373 Sustainability Assessment for Natural Dimension Stone?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How_To_Polish_&_Restore_Mar.gif
How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Stone Guide

2014 Stone World Stone Guide

The directory for Stone, Equipment and Supplies - the single information resource readers turn to.

Stone Industry Education

stone industry educationStone Industry Education is sponsored by Stone World Magazine and Marble Institute of America. The SIE events will help you: strengthen your skills, build your business, and  increase profit in your shop.  Check out stoneindustryeducation.com to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook logo Twitter  YouTubeGoogle+