A 46-story high-rise building was recently completed in New York, to provide 374 new apartments to the upscale 38th Street area. For the building -- dubbed Atlas New York -- exterior designers Schuman/Lichtenstein/Claman/Efron (SLCE) Architects and interior designers Stephen Alton Architect PC, both of New York, chose natural stone to establish a modern, classy look for the 390,304-square-foot building.

Innovative Marble and Tile of Hauppage, NY, furnished and installed all of the project's stone.

For the exterior, Mocha Cream limestone from Portugal and Gallo Veneziano granite from Brazil were chosen for aesthetics and practicality. "These stones were always at the top of our list due to their color, consistency and durability," said Colin Ho of SLCE Architects. "The stone was used on a spandrel beam, facing the entire four-story base. The use of stone at the base married seamlessly with the brick and glass tower, enhancing the overall quality of the design."

The limestone was all specially fabricated, according to Reg Gregory of Innovative Marble and Tile. "We supplied over 10,000 square feet of stone for the exterior," said Gregory. "The limestone was in all cubic 4-inch size pieces for the spandrel panels, column stones and copings. Every piece had working and carvings, so it was a lengthy fabrication process to put all the reveals and reliefs in the stone to give it depth.

"The job was originally designed as a pre-cast, which is generally to pour cement into mold, which doesn't take a lot of craftsmanship. We carved in the niches to make the panels."

The fabrication process took approximately six months to complete. Though it was time-consuming, the company had done such stonework before and didn't experience any difficulties. The installation of the limestone was then just as carefully done as the fabrication. "Our installation process was to install each piece independently," said Gregory. "We provided fabrication drawings to a metal shop, which custom made anchorages in accordance with our specifications for the installation. There were roughly six to eight stainless steel anchors per piece, and three 2-man crews worked on the installation."

The exterior installation took about four months, and was relied on the experience of the stone setters, similar to the fabrication process. "The installation aspect was somewhat conventional," said Gregory. "The granite was used for the base and that was flat panel work. The limestone installation was very similar to that. At every floor, the granite and limestone was relieved for gravity with a 6-x-6 galvanized lentil and retained with 1/8-inch thick stainless anchors."

For the interior, Stephen Alton Architect PC chose high-honed select White Carrara marble from Italy for the elevator lobby flooring and walls Villebois Jaune honed French limestone for the entry lobby. "The design was to make a space for hip, young apartment renters - a 'salon environment," said Stephen Alton.

The stone for the interior, which also includes gray Belgium sandstone for the office lobby flooring and mailroom, was a less challenging job for Innovative Marble and Tile. "All the floors were mud set," said Gregory. "The walls were mechanically attached, using metal straps and brass wire. The interior took two crews roughly six weeks to complete."

Once the apartment building was complete, the doors opened in November. "The owners and team who worked on the job were completely pleased with how things turned out," said Gregory. "The range of material was all hand-selected and everything was done according to schedule."