Each year, the Marble Institute of America (MIA) bestows its highly coveted Pinnacle Awards upon outstanding projects whose beauty, creativity, ingenuity and craftsmanship exemplify professional mastery in the use of natural stone in commercial and residential settings. This year's competition attracted a near record number of entries from MIA members worldwide. Entries were judged by a panel of experts representing the natural stone, architecture and design professions.

Project teams had to include at least one MIA member company. Projects had to be completed within the past three years (January 2002-August 2005).

Independent judges appointed by the MIA Board of Directors evaluated entries based on excellence in design and implementation, quality workmanship and suitability of materials.

2005 Judges:
• Wey Lee, Senior Associate, Ted Moudis Associates, New York, NY •
• Richard Zurita, Ricardo Zurita, Architecture and Planning PC, New York, NY •
• Chuck Muehlbauer, Technical Director, Marble Institute of America •
• Paul Vigna, President, Stone Division, Artisan Tile and Marble Co. of New Jersey, Inc.

Residential Interior/Exterior Award of Excellence

Project Name: Private Residence, La Jolla, CA
MIA Member Company: Design MGM, Banning, CA, stone fabricator and installer

Project Description:
Engineering and fabricating this three-story spiral staircase - made from Impero Travertine from Gaucci Quarries of Tivoli, Italy - was very challenging. A total of 69 steps were required to complete the staircase. The client wanted to showcase the stairs with a light airy elegance by putting in the glass surround. The radius glass surround required there be no more than 3⁄16 inch tolerance allowed throughout the three stories. Impero Travertine was also used for the walls, vanity, shower, shower bench and flooring. The entire residence used approximately 40,000 square feet of travertine.

Other Project Team Members:
Architect/Designer: Batter Kay Associates
General Contractor: Lyons Construction
Stone Supplier: Walker Zanger

Judges' Comments:
“Well balanced. Excellent engineering feat. Impressive minimalism and design. Simple yet elegant, extremely challenging design and workmanship.”

Residential Interior/Exterior Award of Merit

Project Name: Falling Spring House, Durham, NC
MIA Member Company: Granicor, St. Augustin, Quebec, Canada, stone quarrier and fabricator

Project Description:
Natural stone was a logical choice for this magnificent 5,000-square-foot, granite-clad home, since it complemented the beautiful, lush, mountainous environment. In addition, stone would fulfill the client's goal that the home rival its gorgeous surroundings, an “elegant jewel” tucked within the woodland. What initially began as a small fishing cabin became a majestic multi-million dollar estate gloriously nestled within the tranquility of the mountains.

Other Project Team Members:
Architect: Scott McQuide, AIA and Brockwell Associates
Contractor/Owner: Hock Development

Judges' Comments:
“Composition and choice of material is excellent and blends with the background of the site. Bold rugged stone profiles complement the rugged terrain of the site. Strong color contrast accentuates the prominent lines of the building.”

Commercial Exterior Award of Excellence

Project Name: Newport Beach Temple, Newport Beach, CA
MIA Member Companies: Bestview International, Wood Dale, IL, fabricator; Campolonghi Italia, S.R.L., Massa, Italy, fabricator; KEPCO+, Salt Lake City, UT, stone installer; Rock of Ages Corp., Barre, VT, stone supplier

Project Description:
More than 31,000 square feet of stonework was used in the magnificent Newport Beach Temple in Newport Beach, CA. One of the most time-consuming fabrication elements in the project was the leaf-shaped frieze, which makes up the parapet of the temple. It is also adorned with sun-spired medallions, which accent the frieze at the corners of the building. The sun detail was sandblasted, while the honed finish was completed by hand. Other hand-carved details include the arched wind surrounds, the entrance arches and the half spheres, which were the heaviest pieces fabricated for the project.

Other Project Team Members:
Architect: Lloyd E. Platt and Associates
General Contractor: Jacobsen Construction

Judges' Comments:
“Stone at its best. Delicate sculpture work complements clean lines of temple design. Combination of all trades coming together.”

Commercial Exterior Award of Merit

Project Name: National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC
MIA Member Company: Vetter Stone Co., Kasota, MN, stone supplier and fabricator

Project Description:
Located on a 4.25-acre site, the 250,000-square-foot, five-story building is a series of continuous but non-repetitive curves, both concave and convex, along with ramp and twisted cut stone. No straight walls exist on the exterior and few on the interior. A total of 190 truckloads of stone were used for the $219 million project, which honors the past and present culture and history of Native Americans of the Western Hemisphere. The 65-foot-high winding cantilevered exterior shelters the entrance and emulates Native American cliff dwelling sites. Its boldness is characterized by large natural strata panels, weighing up to 5 tons.

Other Project Team Members:
Design Concept: Douglas Cardinal, LTD., BGQC, JohnPaul Jones, Ramona Sakiestewa, Donna House
Architects: Jones & Jones, SmithGroup, Lou Weller, The Native American Design Collaborative, Polshek Partnership Architects
General Contractor:The Clark Construction Group
Stone Installer: G-A Masonry

Judges' Comments:
“Great use of stone. The absence of straight lines provides a very natural feel and is appropriate for this intent. Character of the building blends well and is free flowing.”

Commercial Interior Award of Excellence

Project Name: Alabama Department of Archives and History Building, West Wing Addition, Montgomery, AL
MIA Member Companies: D.M.I. Tile and Marble, Inc., Birmingham, AL, stone fabricator and installer; Tennessee Marble Co., Friendsville, TN, stone supplier and fabricator

Project Description:
The centerpiece of the design is a 34- x 26-foot ellipse in a 340-piece pattern of Tennessee Rose marble. The pattern is composed of five ellipse accents, six diamond accents, four triangle accents and connecting wedges and triangles. Each section is surrounded with concentric and elliptical bands, with two additional bands at the outermost edge. The main hallway from the lobby is composed of the same material in a running bond pattern with a smaller circular area at the hall transition.

Other Project Team Members:
Architects: Seay Seay & Litchfield, P.C.
General Contractor: Jesco, Inc.

Judges' Comments:
“Use of regional materials and recycled materials promotes green interest. Stunning with masterful execution of layout, design and workmanship.”

Commercial Interior Award of Merit

Project Name: Sensi Restaurant, Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
MIA Member Company: Intertile Distributors, Inc., Oakland, CA, stone supplier

Project Description:
As you walk toward the Sensi Restaurant in the Bellagio Hotel, the first thing you notice is the casual elegant atmosphere created by natural granite walls, the infinity waterfall down the face of the Absolute Black granite bar and the soft flamed granite flooring. Some of the boulders used in the project are over 1 foot thick, so the floors needed to be reinforced to handle the extra weight of up to 4,000 pounds, and holes were cut into the ceiling in order for a crane to hoist the boulders into the restaurant. The soothing overall design of the restaurant was created by using more than 7,000 square feet of flooring in both polished and flamed Navy Mist granite from China.

Other Project Team Members:
Designer: Super Potato
General Contractor/Stone Supplier:Marnell Corrao Associates
Stone Fabricators: Superior Tile and Marble, Inc. and Izumiya Sekizaiten, Co. Ltd.
Stone Installer: Superior Tile and Marble, Inc.

Judges' Comments:
“Powerful, bold personality of stone is evident through the massive boulder profiles. Craftsmanship in the fitting of the monolithic pieces is unusually high. Harmony - use of stone in relationship to other materials.”

Renovation/Restoration Award of Excellence

Project Name: 90 West Building, New York, NY
MIA Member Companies: A. Lacroix and Sons Granit LTD, Saint-Sebastien, Quebec, Canada, stone fabricator; Continental Marble Inc., Holbrook, NY, stone contractor; KEPCO+, Salt Lake City, UT, panel fabricator

Project Description:
The major challenge in this project was fabricating recently quarried stone to blend with intricately carved granite weathered and aged for nearly 100 years, but it was done to perfection. The 90 West Building, across from where the World Trade Center once stood, was badly damaged during the 9/11 disaster. The stunning granite interior was devastated, thereby requiring massive facade restoration. Since the original material used in the building was not available, English Bay granite was selected as the stone for new pieces. A total of 3,000 square feet of stone was restored or fabricated for this project. Pieces on the project weighed from 1.5 pounds for the small marble inlays to column capitals at 1,800 pounds.

Other Project Team Members:
Architect: Facade Maintenance Design
General Contractor: Seaboard Weatherproofing
Stone Consultant: CSCE Services Corp.
Stone Installer: Conventional Stone and Marble
Stone Quarrier: Fletcher Granite Co.

Judges' Comments:
“Stone at its best. Delicate sculpture work complements clean lines of temple design . . . combination of all trades coming together.”

Special Pinnacle Award Stone Memorial

Project Name: USS San Diego Memorial, San Diego, CA
MIA Member Company: Cold Spring Granite Co., Cold Spring, MN

Project Description:
The artists' original design intent was to create an uplifting, stimulating public monument of the USS San Diego, which traveled 300,000 nautical miles and earned 18 battle stars during 37 months of World War II. The goal was a memorial to enlighten the nation to a compelling story of human struggle and sacrifice. The elements of the memorial sculpture include five large rectangular panels, four of stone and one of composition terra-cotta, which are organized around a central, vertical granite parallelogram. As seen from the front, the composition is a harmonious V-shape. The monument's highly personal interior space lists the names of the 1,800 crew members and overwhelms the view. It also features a 22-foot panel showing the ship in action.

Other Project Team Members:

Sculptors/Designers: Louis Thiele Quaintance and Eugene Lewis Daub
Coordinating Architect: Jack Stevenson
Landscape Architect:KTU & A
General Contractor: Melhorn Construction
Installer: Florentine Company

Judges' Comments:
“When only stone will do. Gem-like! A memorial to be proud of.”