Modern headquarters reflects exterior surroundings

September 1, 2007
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The BJ Services Corporate Headquarters in Houston, TX, was designed by Kirksey Architecture to reflect a modern and contemporary style by using natural materials, including Texas limestone in shades of Champagne, Pewter and Ivory, which was supplied by Upchurch Kimbrough Co.

The two-story, 85,000-square-foot BJ Services Corporate Headquarters in Houston, TX, was designed by Kirksey Architecture to reflect a modern and contemporary style by using natural materials, including stone supplied by Upchurch Kimbrough Co. and Stone Marketing International, both of which are located in Houston, TX.
According to Jason Tramonte, project designer with Kirksey, the goal was “to create a modern corporate headquarters that preserved the natural qualities of the site and to incorporate materials such as limestone, granite and wood to reflect its exterior surroundings.”
In order to meet this desired goal, Kirksey selected a variety of stone materials for both exterior and interior features. The exterior of the building features rectangular-shaped pieces of Texas limestone in shades of Champagne, Pewter and Ivory. The material, supplied by Upchurch Kimbrough Co., was selected for its regional location and for its dense characteristics, according to Tramonte, who worked along with Project Architect Guillermo Andrade, also of Kirksey Architecture.
A design statement from the architectural firms reads: “Integration of the exterior material into the interior is achieved by limestone floors and a granite spine wall, which is highlighted with a continuous skylight flooding the volume with natural light. The building’s interior and exterior includes the use of 102 different sizes and shapes of limestone and granite on the lobby floors and executive areas, as well as a granite wall in the lobby.”
The flooring at the main entrance and throughout the lobby features honed Jura Grey-Blue limestone, while honed and sandblasted Nova Blue limestone was used as a complementary material in the lobby as well as for several hallways throughout the space. Additionally, Pewter granite was chosen for the lobby spine wall as well as for several accent walls, including one in the conference room area. Stone Marketing International supplied all interior stone materials.
According to the architects, the job was unique due to all the stone soffits and surrounds as well as sills and quirk-mitered corners. However, the engineering of these soffit units posed challenges for the architects, who worked closely with the mason and general contractor to get accurate test data on pull out resistance for each, according to Tramonte.

According to Jason Tramonte, the project designer with Kirksey, Texas limestone was selected for its regional location and for its dense characteristics.

Installing the stone

According to Richard Lowery of Lowery Masonry L.L.C. of Houston, TX -- which served as the stone installer for the project -- the stonework took four months to complete with a foreman, 10 stone setters and 12 mason tenders on the jobsite. “The stone was installed as an exterior veneer over metal studs and sheathing using Hohmann & Barnard DW 10’s and stainless steel vee ties to anchor the stone,” he added.
Lowery said that the crew used cement from Capitol Portland, lime from Chemical Lime Co. and sand from San Jacinto River Sand, as well as Hilti epoxy for installing the stone pieces.
“It was very difficult to access all elevations because of muddy conditions and existing trees,” said Lowery. “We had to actually service some areas by setting stone and mortar on the second floor and moving them through the building and out the windows to the stone setters.”
Construction on the project began in January of 2005 and was completed in May of 2006. “The reaction has been great,” said Brian McCole with BJ Services. “The building is set among a forest of pine trees. The use of natural materials throughout makes you forget you are in an office building.”

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