Texas limestone reflects Austin culture

April 1, 2005
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

The winter of 2004 marked the end of a three-phased renovation for the new Austin City Hall and public plaza in Austin, TX. The 118,000-square-foot building encompasses a 750-car parking garage as well as a public plaza featuring Lueders limestone supplied by Mezger Enterprises Ltd. of Lampasas, TX.

Designed by the prestigious architectural firm, Antoine Predock Architect, PC, of Albuquerque, NM, in association with Cotera, Kolar, Negrete and Reed of Austin, TX, the building reflects the warm informality that characterizes the city.

“The goal was to create a building about Austin, reflecting Austin's deep history -- from its formative geography to its dynamic participatory democracy,” said Paul Fehlau, associate-in-charge and project manager from Antoine Predock's office.

The base of the building -- mostly the lower two floors -- is clad in Lueders limestone as both an interior and exterior finish material. The public plaza has limestone benches, and the planters and planting beds contain large fragments of limestone as well, according to the architect. In addition, there is a three-story limestone wall leading from the public plaza to the parking garage, which was built out of large-scale Lueders limestone boulders.

According to Wayne Harbin, sales manager for Mezger Enterprises, over 31,300 cubic feet of Lueders limestone was used for the project. Of this amount, 48,000 square feet is a natural finish Lueders Roughback limestone used as a veneer on the exterior and interior of the building. The architectural cut stone portions of the building are comprised of a combination of Buff and Antique Lueders limestone. Harbin added that over 1,180 tons of stone and boulders were used for landscape features as well.

Every piece of stone on the building was drawn and detailed by Mezger Enterprises' drafting department, approved by the architect, and then each piece was custom cut and finished, according to Harbin. “The design architect's primary goal from the beginning was to maintain a 12-inch-thick 'cubic' design for the wall thickness,” he said. “In areas where this cubic design was not possible because of construction constraints, all corners and returns were cut as 1-foot-thick

'L'-[shaped] corners, in order to maintain the architect's intent through-out the building.

“There are very few 90-degree [angles] or square corners,” continued Harbin. “Every door and window opening had a specific angled return, most of which were compound angles or acute angles. Each of these pieces had to be cut precisely as solid one-piece returns, while maintaining the natural face finish.” Because of the large scope of the project, some obstacles were faced regarding the stonework. “There were many challenges trying to coordinate such a large volume of stone onto [an area the size of] one city block, in the middle of the busy state capital city,” said Harbin. “Both the design architect, as well as the landscape architect, made multiple trips to Mezger's quarries, hand selecting blocks of stone to be used in specific areas of the project.”

In addition, the public spaces on the first level have limestone flooring in a running bond pattern of 18- x 18-inch tiles. Dal-Tile of Houston, TX, supplied the material.

Fehlau said that the most difficult part of the project was trying to make the stone look like it was not a veneer. In the end, though, he said that an exceptional job was done to achieve the desired look. “Mezger Enterprises made some very convincing quoins at strange angles,” he said.

According to Fehlau, excavation for the parking garage and access tunnel began in 2001, and the entire project was completed in the winter of 2004.

“People have really embraced the completed project, [which is] no surprise because the community got really involved in the design process,” he said.

End Box

Austin City Hall and Public Plaza
Austin, TX

Architect: Antoine Predock Architect, PC, Albuquerque, NM
Associate Architect: Cotera, Kolar, Negrete and Reed, Austin, TX
Landscape Architect: Elanor Mckinney, Austin, TX
Stone Supplier: Mezger Enterprises Ltd., Lampasas, TX (Lueders limestone); Dal-Tile, Houston, TX (limestone flooring)
Stone Installer: Custom Masonry, Boerne, TX

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Stone World 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

November 2013 Stone Products Gallery

Take a look at some of the latest stone industry products.


Stone World Magazine

April 2014 stone world cover

2014 April

In this month's issue of Stone World, check out an extensive preview of Coverings 2014, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in April. Also learn more about various types of limestone that were used to build private residences.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine


2014 Spring

This issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design includes our annual focus on Kitchen and Bath design

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Training Program

How formal is your training program for new employees?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Italian Trade Commission Coverings exhibitor preview

Italian Trade Commission logo 2

The Italian Trade Commission is presenting a large group of the most innovative and internationally renowned Italian suppliers of dimensional natural stones. We hope your busy schedule will allow you to join us for a “genuine” espresso in booth N. 4045 and explore the exciting Italian natural stone resources offered by our exhibitors. Check out Italian stone producers exhibiting at Coverings 2014 here!


Stone Industry Education

stone industry educationStone Industry Education is sponsored by Stone World Magazine and Marble Institute of America. The SIE events will help you: strengthen your skills, build your business, and  increase profit in your shop.  Check out stoneindustryeducation.com to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.


facebook logo Twitter  YouTube