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South of Market, a mixed-use project in downtown Reston, VA, was designed to fit into the urban core of the Reston Town Center - one of the first modern planned communities in the U.S. Phase One of the development project involved building two 10-story towers and one six-story building, each consisting of ground-floor retail space with offices above. In building the three structures, which sit on a common, two-level, below-grade parking garage, a variety of natural stone was selected for both the exterior and interior designs.
According to the architect, the retail component of this project plays a very important role. “The first floor is retail throughout to provide a walkable, livable community,” he said. “That’s why we wanted to highlight the retail [aspect] and create a certain look.”
Several different stones were utilized in the design of South of Market, which were fabricated and installed by Neka, Inc. of Dulles, VA.
“When we saw the waterjet finish, we really loved it,” said the architect. “It sparkled, and the owner loved it too.”
Sturm went on to explain that small strips of Verde Fontaine granite with a honed finish were used as accent pieces. “We used Verde Fontaine for contrast,” he said. “For aesthetic and maintenance purposes, we used Angola Black [granite] at the base of the building. It really hides the dirt.” The Angola Black granite was given a polished and waterjet finish, and some of the pieces were laminated to a 2 ½-inch thickness.
To further enhance the aesthetics of South of Market, several monumental pieces - all made from Angola Black granite with thicknesses ranging from 2, 3 and 5 inches - were placed outside next to the main entrances as well as inside the lobbies. These included three directories, 9 benches, 14 planters and six exterior planters.
“The project went fairly smoothly,” said Sturm. “For the installer, the most challenging part was probably the benches and planters - just because the pieces were huge. We had 5-inch slabs that were up to 6 to 7 feet long.”
The installation process
In addition to fabricating the stone pieces, Neka, Inc. was also responsible for installing the stonework. “I was on site once a week reviewing the stonework,” said Sturm. “They got the installation down pat pretty quickly. The jobsite was close to their facility, so if something wasn’t cut right, or if a piece cracked, they literally had the raw slabs in their yard. They have quite the operation. It made for a smooth process.”
Project Manager Ayhan Ozdag of Neka, Inc. agreed that the location of the project made for ideal circumstances. “We were only 8 miles from the jobsite, so it was very convenient,” he said. “If there was a problem, we could fix it right away.”
According to Ozdag, the varying thicknesses of the stone pieces made the work interesting. “The total job took about a year to fabricate, but 90% of it was done in six months,” he said, adding that between 35,000 to 40,000 square feet of stone was utilized in total. “Everything, including the waterjet finish, was all done in-house. The general contractor loved it because many things changed [throughout the job], and we were able to accommodate it without any cost to them.”
Additionally, another crew of about five installers was used to lay the exterior paving, while a third crew performed the interior stone installation. A mortar bed was used for the 2-inch-thick pavers, according to the project manager. “The project was nicely detailed by SmithGroup,” he said.
Sturm explained that the initial design process took approximately 16 months, and construction of South of Market was completed in 22 months. “For a project this size, it was pretty quick,” he said. “Everyone was very happy.”
Sidebar: South of MarketReston Town Center
Architect: SmithGroup, Washington, DC
Stone Fabricator/Installer: Neka, Inc., Dulles, VA
Stone Suppliers: Marmi Bruno Zanet, Verona, Italy; International Italmarmi, Massa, Italy; and Granicor, St. Augustin, Quebec, Canada