Will Architects recently designed the 75,000-square-foot Nautilus Insurance Co. headquarters in Scottsdale, AZ, which utilizes Indian granite for both interior and exterior elements. All material was quarried by Tab India and supplied through the company’s U.S. branch, Amsum & Ash of Minneapolis, MN.

Construction of the Nautilus Insurance Co. headquarters in Scottsdale, AZ, was completed this past May. The three-story 75,000-square-foot building is clad in Indian granite quarried by Tab India and supplied through the company's U.S. branch, Amsum & Ash of Minneapolis, MN, to present a feeling of strength and permanence. Jeffrey Will, president of Will Architects of Phoenix, AZ, served as the principal architect on the project. “Our goal was to design a building that represented the philosophy of the Nautilus Insurance Co., so we felt we had to be creative and innovative like the company, with new ideas and new design features, and yet we had to have a look that represented the company's strength and durability in the marketplace,” said the architect.

Out of 15 granites presented to the client, Tan Brown was selected for several areas, including the exterior skin, mechanical screen walls, site screen walls, site signage, parking garage columns and interior accent cladding. “We personally leaned for more darker colors because we felt it would convey the insurance company concept a little stronger,” said Will. “The look of strength and durability represents the company in such a way that they would be around for a long time, and darker colors represent that image more than lighter colors do. Darker shades would also be more prominent on the site in conjunction with the horizontal aluminum fins that run across the glass, and in some cases, across the granite.”

Will said that the client was highly involved with the selection of materials. “As a matter of fact, the CEO/President of the company was involved in all material selection and made all final approvals,” he said. “Nautilus also had a design committee that was assembled based on the number of people in the company, and we presented materials to them as well.”

The original design plan called for the use of granite as a primary material, and native sandstone was originally specified as an accent stone on the exterior of the building. “During the course of the project, we decided to take the sandstone out and use all granite,” said Will. “It seemed to have more of a solidified look when using just one material.”

According to the architect, the largest challenge involved structurally supporting the stone on all of the cantilevered sections. “When you look at the design, you realize that the horizontal granite spandrels are cantilevered,” he said. “We had to find a creative and inexpensive way to cantilever the steel structure to support the granite. We accomplished this feat by extending the top cords on the floor joists out and creating a strengthened top cord cantilevered section to hang the granite off of.”

Sun Valley Masonry, Inc. served as the installer for the project. Joseph Chagolla of Sun Valley Masonry said that the stone was mechanically anchored using stainless steel clips, tech screws and metal straps. The installation of the stonework lasted a duration of 5 1⁄2 months with an average crew of 10 workers. According to Chagolla, the layout of the new building posed problems for the crew, but it was overcome by coordination with other trades. Lisa Shanley with hardison/downey construction, inc. - a Phoenix, AZ-based general contractor - agreed that Tan Brown granite was selected for its durability and aesthetics.

Shanley said that 40,000 square feet of the material was used in polished pieces that were 3 cm in thickness. “The building, so far, has been very well received by both the Nautilus staff and the Scottsdale public,” said Shanley, adding that the project ran extremely smoothly on her end.

Overall, construction of the building lasted for one year, finishing in May 2005. “We have had nothing but tremendous praise and accolades on the building from the client and people in passing,” said the architect. “We are very happy with the outcome and believe we have accomplished our original goal in establishing an image that represents the Nautilus Insurance Company.”

End Box

Nautilus Insurance Co. Headquarters

Scottsdale, AZ

Architect: Will Architects, Phoenix, AZ General Contractor: hardison/downey construction, inc., Phoenix, AZ Stone Quarrier/Fabricator: Tab India, Jaipur, India Stone Supplier: Amsum & Ash, Minneapolis, MN Stone Installer: Sun Valley Masonry Inc., Phoenix, AZ Installation Products: Hohmann & Barnard, Inc., Ft. Worth, TX