The expansion of the Plaza of the Rockies in Colorado Springs, CO, made extensive use of Indian granite for the interior.
To ease a tight office market in downtown Colorado Springs, CO, a new 13-story tower was added to the Plaza of the Rockies, one of the city's major commercial facilities. And to connect this new tower to its existing surroundings, the interior and exterior designs relied on natural stone.

The new South Tower, which has a total of 276,000 square feet in space, can accommodate approximately 1,000 employees. The flooring in this space -- as well as in the connecting corridor -- is comprised of Indian granite. "We looked at all sorts of stone," explained Gene Yergensen of Yergensen Obering & Whittaker, the architecture firm for the project. "We looked at North Dakota stone and Cold Spring granites. The Indian granite was a close match of the granite utilized on a previous renovation."

A total of 30,000 square feet of Royal Red and Premium Plus Black granite were specified for the project. The stone, which was imported from India by M.S. International, was utilized in both polished and flamed finishes. "We used a polished and flamed combination to repeat some of the original architecture of the building," Yergensen said. "Part of the goal was to make it look like one project. To make it feel like one complete complex, we renovated all the existing common areas in the existing North Tower."

In addition to flooring applications, the stone was used for the walls and feature elements such as the security desk and planters throughout the project. The interior stonework was installed by Marino Tile & Marble.

Exterior stonework

Yergensen Obering & Whittaker also specified natural stone for the exterior of the plaza's South Tower. "There was some existing masonry that we wanted to match," Yergensen said. "The plaza is in an historic area, and there was some Colorado sandstone [present in the surrounding architecture], so we encased the piers in Colorado sandstone which gave a warmer feeling than a cold, white precast. We also carried the sandstone into the lobby to get an inside/outside feeling."

Also respecting the context of the building, the first four stories are set back from the street. "We wanted to make it feel like we weren't encroaching on the surrounding architecture," Yergensen said.

Now complete, the project was been well received by the city of Colorado Springs. "Reaction has been very positive," the architect said. "We've received nice comments from the community, and it has been leasing well."

About the project:

Plaza of the Rockies: South Tower Expansion, Colorado Springs, CO
Developer: Nor'wood Development
Architect: Yergensen Obering & Whittaker, Colorado Springs, CO
General Contractor: G.E. Johnson Construction Co.
Stone Importer: M.S. International, Anaheim, CA (Indian granite)
Stone Distributor: Design Materials
Stone Installer: Marino Tile and Marble (interior stonework)