“There are a lot of different neighborhood developments in San Antonio, said architect Michael Imber of San Antonio. “All of the places have limestone walls. This development was meant to be the highest and most sophisticated in town. We had to find a way to use stone that has a connotation for quality, but at the same time take it to another level. We had to find a stone that was a little different than what was being used in other developments.”
After some deliberation, two varieties of Leuders limestone -- both supplied by Alkusari Stone of Austin, TX -- were selected. “We were looking for a timeless material; something warm, a rustic elegance,” explained the architect. “We wanted something that we could manipulate -- something that had an air of sophistication, but still felt comfortable.”
Approximately 550 tons of Siena Blend limestone was employed for the project. The split-face random ashlar material was used to create a wall around the entire perimeter of the property. This rough-cut stone also forms a bridge on the premises. Additionally, the Siena Blend was used as infill for the lower portion of a guardhouse and also on areas of a second, larger guardhouse.
Also contributing to the elegant Old World feel of the development’s architecture is Texas Mist limestone, which had a smooth-cut finish. Pieces of this material were employed primarily for the guardhouses.
“Leuders had more color and felt a little more aged and at peace within the setting,” said Imber. “It automatically gave the air of timelessness.”
The architect explained that he had worked with this material for other projects, and as a result, was familiar with its characteristics. “The contractor visited the quarries,” said Imber. “We told him what we were looking for, which was a rich earthy color.”
Both the architect and the developer, Israel Fogiel of Great America Companies in San Antonio, explained that the color consistency of Leuders limestone differs from the interior to exterior. “When the limestone blocks are extracted, the exterior is a yellowish color and the inside is gray,” said Fogiel. “We selected to use color [for the design], so the pieces were chopped from the exterior of the blocks.”
When installing the rough-cut pieces, it was important to mix the colors to ensure that they were evenly distributed as well as the different striations of the limestone. Great measures were taken to try to eliminate the interior gray as much as possible.
The installation of the stonework took about six months to complete, according to Fogiel. “It was complicated,” he said. “The large guardhouse had curved pieces. Everything had to fit together perfectly. The masons worked hard and it got done. It came out beautifully.”
Architect: Michael Imber, San Antonio, TX
Stone Quarrier/Fabricator: Alkusari Stone,
Stone Installers: Brian Ash, San Antonio, TX (small guardhouse and part of
large guardhouse); Leija Brothers, San Antonio, TX (completion of large guardhouse and bridge)