Coverings, the showcase for ceramic tile and natural stone floor coverings, announced that Studio Gang Architects LTD has won the $10,000 Grand Prize in the 2004 Prism Stone in Architecture Awards for its stone curtain, “Masonry Variations.” The Prism Stone in Architecture Awards honor outstanding examples of architectural achievement in the use of natural stone in residential and commercial design.

“For thousands of years stone has been recognized as a premier building material that is both practical and elegant,” said Tamara Christian, Coverings' show director and president of National Trade Productions. “All of our winning entries showcase the beauty, craftsmanship, sophistication and flair that natural stone can add to any building project.”

The Marble Institute of America (MIA), the stone industry's leading professional association, and Architectural Record magazine coordinated the competition. An independent panel of judges assembled by Architectural Record and MIA evaluated the entries based on creativity in design and excellence in implementation. They included: Linda Searl, Searl & Associates, Architects; Mark P. Sexton, Krueck & Sexton Architects; and Gunny Harboe, McClier.

“The extensive variety in the use of stone by our winners demonstrates that stone has so many applications for architects and designers working on both residential and commercial projects,” said Garis F. Distelhorst, CAE, executive vice president of the Marble Institute of America (MIA). “Stone offers style and support, form and fashion, looks and longevity.”

Sponsoring organizations of Coverings are ASCER (Spain's Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association), Assopiastrelle (Association of Italian Ceramic Tile and Refractories Manufacturers), CTDA (Ceramic Tile Distributors Association), NTCA (National Tile Contractors Association) and TCA (Tile Council of America).

The co-sponsors of Coverings include: the Marble Institute of America, American Institute of Architects (Orlando Chapter), the Associazione Italiana Marmomacchine, The American Society of Interior Designers (Florida South, Florida North and Florida West Coast), the Construction Specifications Institute (Greater Orlando Chapter), International Interior Design Association (Florida Chapter), the Terrazzo Tile and Marble Association of Canada, the Tile Contractors' Association of America and the Tile Heritage Foundation.

Grand Prize Award

National Building Museum, Washington, DC
Architect/Craftworker Team: Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang Architects, Ltd. and Matthew Stokes Redabaugh, International Masonry Institute
Structural Design Consultant: Peter Heppel and Associates
Engineer: The Thorton-Thomasetti Group
Project Description: The “Masonry Variations” stone curtain, a project for the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, began as an exploration of the technologies and tools for cutting stone into thin sheets. The task was to create a structure that explored the future possibilities for the use of stone in architecture. The result was a hanging marble “curtain” weighing 1,500 pounds. What started as a necessary effort to make something light for a building with floor load limitations was transformed into a translucent marble curtain made of 619 interlocking pieces, a jigsaw puzzle suspended from the museum's vaulted ceiling.

First Prize:
Residential Category

“House in the Rocky Mountains,” Genessee, CO
Architect: Alexander Gorlin Architects
General Contractor: Tim Cremer
Project Description: Based in Genessee, CO, this private residence was conceived as both an abstraction of the rugged landscape of the Colorado Rockies and as a re-inhabited ruin, inspired by the Anasazi stone constructions of the Southwest in Chaco Canyon. The cruciform plan anchors the house to the site, with one axis running up and down the hill forming a series of terraces defined by a 200-foot-long skylight and staircase. The walls are covered in a native “moss rock” that changes with the humidity, becoming greener with increased precipitation.

Award of Merit:
Residential Category

“London Penthouse”
Architect: Peter Marino & Associates
Project Description: Located along the Thames River in London, England, this residence is a rigorous exploration of geometry within an internal open landscape. A 20- x 20-square-meter glass box with shallow double vaulted ceilings defines the perimeter of the penthouse. At the center is a brown arco iris onyx-clad cube. This shimmering translucent inner structure wraps around the mechanical core, thereby creating an inner boundary. Outside the cube is an open, loft-like space defined by three abstract Bianco P Carrara marble-lined pavilions, which house the structure's private zones.

Award of Merit:
Commercial Category

Agudas Achim Synagogue, Austin, TX
Architect/Designer: David Lake, Lake/Flat Architects, Inc.
General Contractor: Browning Construction Co.
Project Description: Based in Austin, TX, the client required a worship space that was uplifting, acoustically tuned for the spoken voice and able to intimately accommodate groups of 150 to 1,000 worshippers. The solution came in the form of a mezzanine that floats delicately above the main space, gently backlit by expansive windows that let in natural light. The “Ole Yella” native limestone occurs in few quarries in Kendall County, TX, and was historically used as the primary building material for the area. Use of this material paid homage to this particular area of Texas.

Commercial Category:
Special Award of Merit for Detail

InterContinental Hotel & Conference Center, Cleveland, OH
Project Manager: Michael Reddy of Ceramic Technics, LTD
Architect/Designer: Design Continuum
General Contractor: Turner Construction Co.
Project Description: To create a large 38- x 16-foot oval mosaic of a 17th Century old-world map, approximately 3,000 pieces composed of 43 different types of granite were brought in from countries including Italy, China, Brazil, Russia, Finland, Canada, India, Sri Lanka, Norway, Portugal, the U.S. and several African nations. The mosaic depicts the two hemispheres, identifying cities and regions that were not known to exist at that time. The outer regions of the mosaic are divided among the four natural elements: earth, wind, water and fire.