The grand prize and other winners of the 2003 Prism Awards, the 4th annual celebration of the creative use of natural stone in design and architecture, were announced at Coverings 2003, during the "All-Industry Awards Ceremony" at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, on March 26.

Over the years, Prism has honored some of the most creative and original uses of natural stone at such varied places as a university chapel, an embassy and a winery. The award winners demonstrate the beauty and versatility of natural stone and give explanation to its increasing popularity among architects, designers, builders and homeowners in search of value, quality and permanence.

Prism entries were received from around the world for the creative use of natural stone in design and architecture in two categories -- residential and commercial -- and were judged by prominent representatives of international professional organizations.

  • Grand Prize: Our Lady of Angels Monastery, Hanceville, AL
  • Commercial -- First Prize: Altar platform at Historic Old St. Patrick's Church
  • Commercial -- Award of Merit: Children's Hospital, Omaha, NE
  • Residential -- First Prize: Palm Coast Model Home, Jupiter, FL
  • Residential -- Award of Merit: Residential fireplace, Spring Green, WI


Our Lady of Angels Monastery, Hanceville, AL
Entrant: Masonry Arts, Inc., Bessemer, AL
Fabricators: Masonry Arts, Inc., Bessemer, AL; Savema S.p.A., Forte de Marmi, Italy; Bybee Stone Co., Elletsville, IN; Jenkins Brick Co./Arriscraft, Birmingham, AL
Architects: Walter Anderson Architect, Birmingham, AL; Arch Plus FPCM, Birmingham, AL, Talleres de Arte Grande, Madrid, Spain
Stone Designer: Savema S.p.A, Forte de Marmi, Italy
General Contractor: Brice Building Co., Birmingham, AL
Stone Contractor: Masonry Arts, Inc.

Project Description:
Masonry Arts, Inc. of Bessemer, AL, was presented the grand prize award of $10,000 for the company's role as stone installer in the design and construction of the new monastery for the Order of Poor Clair Nuns of Perpetual Adoration in Hanceville, AL. The project included an Upper and Lower Church, living quarters, kitchen, bakery, cannery, health facility, meeting areas, courtyards and piazza. Over nine types of marble were used for the intricate floor patterns, five marble altars, 32 columns measuring 25 feet in height, walls, statues and holy water fonts, as well as marble steps and paving at altar and choir areas. Three types of granite were used for steps, landing pavers, balustrades and statue pedestals. The project employed 22,000 square feet of marble, 4,000 square feet of granite, 70,000 square feet of Arriscraft Old Mill Stone, and 200,000 square feet of Hanover concrete pavers.


New Altar Platform at Historic Old St. Patrick's Church, Chicago, IL
Entrant: Farrodyne U.S.A. Inc., Chicago, IL
Fabricator: Farrodyne U.S.A. Inc., Chicago, IL
Architect: Booth Hansen & Associates, Chicago, IL
Contractor: J. Kapcheck & Co., Des Plaines, IL

Project Description:
Farrodyne U.S.A., Inc. of Chicago, IL, received the $2,500 first prize commercial award for craftsmanship and excellence involved in the renovation of Historic Old St. Patrick's Church, Chicago's oldest church building. The renovation, which was accomplished to celebrate the church's 150th anniversary, included a new look for the altar platform floor, which was originally made of wood. The church administrators wanted an ornamental stone floor to complement the Celtic ceiling and stained glass windows. Stone was specified for its natural beauty, durability and popularity on floors in Ireland. Four colors of imported marble from Europe were selected, each symbolic to the church: white for purity, green for plant life, tan for earth and red for the blood of Jesus. Architects Booth Hansen & Associates designed an intricate Celtic pattern that repeats 16 times to form a 24-foot circle consisting of 512 inlaid shapes. Farrodyne U.S.A. achieved the intricate shape-cutting through recently developed waterjet technology, and then cut, inlaid and glued the modules with invisible joints so that the finished floor appears as a single unbroken circle.


Nature Theme at Children's Hospital, Omaha, NE

Entrant: HDR Architecture Inc., Omaha, NE
Fabricator: Sunderland Brothers, Omaha, NE
Architect: HDR Architecture Inc., Omaha, NE
Interior Design: Bob Holm, Susan Johnson, Aneetha Mutunayagam McLellan
Contractor: Universal Flooring, Omaha, NE

Project Description:
HDR Architecture Inc. of Omaha, NE, was given the $1,500 Award of Merit in the commercial category for the nature theme at the Children's Hospital. HDR was tasked by Children's Hospital to create an environment in the new hospital that would differentiate pediatrics -- a high-tech yet high-touch setting attractive to patients, families and staff that would look like "a place where children had been before." Ideally, it would reflect the park-like design of the hospital's lobby atrium with a flowing brook, trees, park benches and streetlights. That likeness was extended to the patient rooms, each of which was designed to look like a child's bedroom, through the use of natural stone and slate tiles in a variety of forms. Tiles etched with nature themes created a friendly, whimsical theme for each room and aided small patients in finding their way. For example, at child-eye level outside each patient room is an object etched in a slate tile telling the child he or she is in the "ladybug" room, rather than requiring the child to remember a number. In other locations, a variety of nature themes particular to each floor were etched into slate tiles, and names were etched into slate tiles to recognize donors and assist in further fundraising efforts.


Palm Coast Model Home, Jupiter, FL
Entrant: Rogers Design Group, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Distributor: Coast to Coast Tile and Marble; Sonoma Tilemakers; Ceramic Matrix
Designer: Rogers Design Group, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Project Description:
The Rogers Design Group of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, received the $2,500 first prize in the residential category for accepting the challenge from Palm Coast Builders to design a master bathroom with a traditional, Tuscan, Old World environment, while incorporating all the conveniences of today's world. To achieve the desired effect, Rogers Design Group specified a combination of natural stone products in fashioning a wall of tumbled ancient marble and stone pillars capped with a stone frieze of acanthus leafs reminiscent of the Konossos Palace on the Island of Crete. Slabs of honey-colored onyx were used for the bathtub surround and the vanity countertops, and a hand-cut onyx inlay was used to accentuate the shape of the room. A 14-foot-high cupola hand painted in Venetian plaster reinforces the Tuscan influence. All the other surfaces, including the floor and shower walls, are covered in Andean Ivory marble found near Florence, Italy.


"Crane Dreams," a Residential Fireplace, Spring Green, WI
Entrant: Santa Fe Design Studio, Madison, WI
Designer: Eric N. Rattan, Barbara Sella, Diane Neukirch
Stone Contractor: Eric N. Rattan

Project Description:
Santa Fe Design Studio of Madison WI, was given the $1,500 Award of Merit in the residential category for a residential fireplace. The studio took into consideration the performance arts (theatre and ballet) interests and achievements of the owners. They also regarded their desire to honor environmental efforts to protect crane habitats and the survival of this species, as the firm custom designed a stone mosaic fireplace. The stone mosaic, by Eric N. Rattan with the assistance of apprentices, Barbara Sella and Diane Neukirch, was created from Indian, Chinese, Brazilian and Pennsylvania slates. Warm colors and a "floating" mosaic effect portray the effect of the ritual crane dance, somewhat of a "crane pli¿ a subtle reinforcement of the arts connection. Night sky images speak to the centuries old history of the venerable and beautiful bird and the threat of extinction due to the destruction of its wetland habitat. Artist Eric N. Rattan describes the artistic approach, during which no preliminary sketches are made, in the following words: "It is a challenging process to explain that the picture is already 'painted' on the rocks; creative selection will allow the picture to develop and reveal itself, piece by piece. It involves watching and listening so that the stones can guide the picture along using the artist's hand and eye to audition each stone and execute an image that is preconceived but not completely finished or assembled."