Stone World

Travertine sets the standard for San Diego office complex

October 1, 2003


In the foothills of San Diego, CA, a five-story, 115,000-square-foot building was constructed to accommodate businesses in the area. Officially named the Mesa View Plaza, this office building was designed with luxurious balconies and sweeping curves emphasizing the view of the rolling hills. As a feature element of the project, the architects selected two varieties of travertine -- Fiona and Imperial Gold -- for the exterior structure.

Serving as the gateway to the Kearny Mesa complex, the owners wanted a building with aesthetic beauty as well as the structural measures to hold up against earthquakes. The owners of the building wanted it to have a little more character in the stonework, according to Architect Darrel D. Fullbright of BPA Architecture Planning Interiors.

In order to fulfill the elements of the new, vibrant facility, Fullbright had looked at Indian slate as well as French limestone for the exterior of the building. “The owners were after a warmer feeling from the selected stone,” said Fullbright. “They wanted the stone to be smooth, with a corporate look.”

After the completion of the research, Fiona travertine and Imperial Gold travertine were chosen with a factory-produced honed finish. A total of 16,000 square feet of travertine, supplied by Arizona Tile, was used for the exterior of the building. Not only did the Fiona and Imperial Gold travertines fit the characteristics that the owners were looking for, but they were cost effective as well.

According to the architect, the two stones had qualities that complemented each other nicely. “The Fiona travertine was light in color, as opposed to the Imperial Gold travertine being darker and a bit stronger in color,” explained Fullbright. The Fiona was used for the majority of the building because of its soft color. The Imperial Gold travertine had a deeper color and therefore used a bit more sparingly as an accent to the Fiona travertine. It was used for feature areas such as the base element and header elements above the windows, according to Fullbright.

The majority of the exterior stone was specified as 20- x 24-inch tiles. “The installation process was a wire-reinforced plaster job, adhered over a brown coat of plaster,” said installer John Wirtz of Wirtz Tile and Stone Inc. “The overall installation of the stone and tile took four months and 12 to 25 workers to install.” One challenge that the crew encountered was making sure the stones blended well. “The material had a lot of range in color. We had to pay very close attention to the blending of the stones,” said Wirtz

“We purposely picked stones that were different in order to have variety,” said Fullbright. “Before the stone was put up, we had sample stones that were available to look at. After that, we mostly relied on the installer to make sure the stones blended well, although we made visits on the site to pick out selected pieces that stuck out too much.”

Natural stone was also used for the interior of the facility. In addition to the Fiona and Imperial Gold travertine, the interior flooring features Lagos Blue limestone, which was quarried in Portugal. The floor tiles were installed with Laticrete 220 medium bed mortar.

Overall, the project took a year to complete, and reaction to the finished product has been very favorable. There were no tenants in the office building until after construction was finished, and the building is now nearly 100% occupied. The combination of the crisp, calm atmosphere of San Diego’s climate and the sharp, bold aesthetic of the Fiona and the Imperial Gold travertine has enticed many business owners.

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Mesa View Plaza, San Diego, CA

Architect: BPA Architecture Planning Interiors, San Diego, CA

Stone Supplier: Arizona Tile, Tempe, AZ

Stone Installer: Wirtz Tile and Stone Inc., San Diego, CA