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Stone Column: Stone reflections of classic architecture

December 1, 2002
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In this issue of Stone World, our cover story features Gaillardia Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City, OK. And to achieve the goals of the project, the design and specifications were an interesting blend of classical architecture ideals and modern construction techniques.

The design objective for the project was to resemble the rural chateaus of 16th and 17th century France. To replicate the soft, beige tones of French limestone, the majority of the stonework at Gaillardia is comprised of Tulsa Grey Taupe limestone, quarried locally in Oklahoma.

But replicating 400-year-old architecture depended on a great deal more than merely choosing the appropriate stone. The architects at William Zmistowski Associates, LLC (WZA) in Boulder, CO, thoroughly researched the classical style of that time period to achieve the desired affect. "We referred a lot to history books and authentic classical architectural books on the style - basically any resource we could find, which helped define for us a more specific type of stone coursing to use," explained Director of Design Michael Olson, AIA. "The research was very beneficial in coming up with an appropriate stone module and detailing on the building."

Ultimately, the architects, stonemasons and stone fabricators decided upon using a semi-custom module with five basic unit sizes, which gave some flexibility and replicated the French style. And given the fact that the project utilized 3,000 tons of stone, the decision to use standardized units also helped manage construction costs. The budget was also eased with the use of cast stone units for some details on the project.

Going beyond the stone itself, the design goals were also achieved with a specialized mortar application, which would best replicate the aged appearance that was desired. Once again, collaboration between the architects and the stonemasons played a critical role. "There's good talent, but we had to educate them as to the look we wanted as to get the mortar pointed correctly," Olson said. To further enhance the aged look, Blue Circle Eagle Bond - a light buff structural mortar - was used for all the stonework. "We wanted it to look like an old mortar, so we literally cut off flush, and let it get hard," said Dave Holman of Advanced Masonry, Inc., project manager/foreman on the entry and clubhouse. "We then brushed it with a soft brush." The installer also explained that a lime solvent was used on the limestone to give it an aged appearance as well.

After three years of design and construction, Gaillardia Golf & Country Club opened to positive reviews, filling the need for a high-quality banquet facility in Oklahoma City. And for the stone industry, it provides an interesting case study on how classic aesthetics can be achieved with a combination of careful detailing, thoughtful collaboration and skilled craftsmanship.

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