Once again, the Marble Institute of America (MIA) presented its annual Pinnacle Awards at a luncheon ceremony held on October 17, 2008, during StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas, which took place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center from October 16 to 18. The Pinnacle Awards, which are designed to honor stone companies from around the world for residential, commercial and renovation projects that clearly stand above the rest, are presented to projects whose beauty, creativity, ingenuity and craftsmanship exemplify professional mastery in the use of natural stone, according to the MIA.

The 2008 competition marked the beginning of a new tradition for the Pinnacle Awards, as the MIA added another category - “Best of Show.” Sponsored by Marmomacc, a leading international stone exhibition held annually in Verona, Italy, the winner in the “Best of Show” category received the Grande Pinnacle Award, which was designed by Tobia Scarpa of Venice, Italy, who is an award-winning architect, designer and restoration specialist whose designs have been displayed in some of the world’s most famous museums.

The first winner of the Grande Pinnacle Award was a project submitted by Walker Zanger of Charlotte, NC. The project, which was a luxurious home spa in Winter Park, FL, and referred to as NeMo (New Modern), piqued the interest of judges with its natural materials, neutral colors, a water feature and an abundance of light, all of which combined to create a harmonious, tranquil and resort-like master bathroom/spa suite, according to the MIA.

The Grande Pinnacle Award was presented to Leon Zanger, founder of Walker Zanger, by Mauro Albano, Manager of the Marmomacc Trade Show. In addition to the award, Walker Zanger also received an all-expense paid trip to Marmomacc 2009, which will be held from September 30 to October 3 in Verona, Italy.

The Pinnacle Awards are open to all MIA member companies. Projects submitted must comply with MIA standards as defined in the MIA Dimension Stone Design Manual.

The 2008 Pinnacle Awards were judged by a distinguished panel of four industry professionals in Austin, TX. The panel of judges included:
  • Stan Haas of Nelsen Partners in Austin, TX 
  • Jack Seiders, Immediate Past President of MIA, of Architectural Granite & Marble Inc. in Austin, TX 
  • Christian Pongratz of Pongratz Perbellini Architects in Verona, Italy 
  • Chuck Muehlbauer, MIA Technical Director 

Grand Pinnacle Award-Award of Excellence- Residential Interior/Exterior

Project Name: NeMo (New Modern), Winter Park, FL

MIA Member Company: Walker Zanger, Charlotte, NC, Stone Distributor

Project Description:

Natural materials, neutral colors, a water feature and an abundance of light combine to create this harmonious, tranquil and resort-like Master Bathroom/Spa Suite. The simplified palette and consistent building materials facilitate the transition from inside to outside.

Large, square, honed and filled travertine flooring tiles run throughout the interior, across the lanai and around the pool deck. Massive sliding window walls disappear into pockets to transform the master bath/spa/pool areas into a single indoor/outdoor space.

The suite’s volume is defined by the crisp, geometric shape of travertine tile above the tub and on the shower walls. The spa-like atmosphere is created by natural light playing on the neutral gray and sand color of the travertine and the sand tone of the polished Crema Marfil marble slab countertop. All elements combine to provide warmth and consistency.

A weeping wall water feature at the end of the pool contributes the sound of tranquility to the bath and spa areas. Water flows over a Golden Harvest ledge stone quartzite wall into the beach area of the pool completing the resort/spa-like atmosphere desired.

Other Project Team Members:

Designer and General Contractor: Phil Kean Designs

Interior Designer: CRT Studio, Inc.

Stone Supplier: Tile Market, Inc.

Stone Installer: Tile Works Plus, LLC

Judges’ Comments:

“This is a beautiful example of how warm and soft a natural stone can feel. A great residential space!”

“I loved the straighter lines, the way the color tones of the stone blended with the other finishes and the softness of the stone to achieve the spa atmosphere.”

“An extremely soothing environment. The smaller travertine mosaics are a pleasing contrast with the larger format.”

Award of Excellence- COMMERCIAL EXTERIOR

Project Name: George A. Purefoy Municipal Center, Frisco, TX

MIA Member Company:Dee Brown, Inc., Garland, TX, Stone Subcontractor

Project Description:

Designed by Malcolm Holzman, the George A. Purefoy Municipal Center was designed to have elements in keeping with Richard Clayton designs of the early 1900s. This LEED Silver Certified project utilizes all natural stone materials sourced within 500 miles of the site.

West Texas Hadrian limestone was utilized in six different patterns. The patterns included a variety of machine-smooth and split-face stone in varied sizes. The limestone was also utilized in half-round, radial-face column covers, sills with hand-pitched edges and copings.

The main entry feature and the south side council chamber utilized 8-inch, coursed-height split-face Sunset Red granite. This granite was also utilized in other locations as coping. Another unique feature element included split-face granite wedges 1 ¼-inch in thickness cast into precast column covers and hung at either side of the main entry.

Stone installer performed all CMU, limestone, granite architectural and granite-clad precast and stone-related moisture-control iteAms on the project. Work was completed within the project schedule.

Other Project Team Members:

Owner: City of Frisco, TX

Architect: Holzman-Moss Architecture

General Contractor: Lee Lewis Construction

Stone Suppliers: Cold Spring Granite Co. (MIA Member); Texastone Quarries (MIA Member)

Judges’ Comments:

“I liked the use of split-face granite, which is normally a throw-away bi-product, in combination with the split-face limestone. Great design and clever use of materials.”

“I love the way the contrasting colors are bridged by the uniform texture - well done!”

“This project was one of the best in demonstrating the breadth of stone in finish and coursing. The beautiful contrast between smooth and split-faced stone represents a rich palette that will anchor this public building for many generations.”

Award of Excellence- COMMERCIAL EXTERIOR

Project Name: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, FL

MIA Member Company: Titan Stone, LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Stone Contractor

Project Description:

Upon completion, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County was the nation’s largest performing arts center constructed in the last 35 years.

Originally conceived as a relatively plain stucco facade, the mammoth project had the distinction of a dramatic upgrade to natural stone cladding.

Flamed Italian Sardo Beige granite was selected for its silver minerals, which almost look like little “mirrors” at certain angles. The other exterior granites are flamed Topaz Gold and honed Verde Maritaca.

Natural stone contractor/fabricator, Titan Stone, contracted MIA-member Curtain Wall Design & Consulting to provide the shop drawings and the engineered installation details. Titan then selected MIA-member Savema of Italy to perform the fabrication. The interior’s natural stone counters were fabricated and installed by Titan Stone.

Altogether, Titan Stone’s mason erected nearly 31,000 pieces and over 230,000 square feet of granite on the exterior skins of the Center’s two enormous buildings.

Other Project Team Members:

Architect: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Exterior Plaza Designers: Balmori Associates with EDAW

Exterior Wall Consultant: Curtain Wall Design & Consulting (MIA Member)

General Contractor: Performing Arts Center Builders, JV of Odebrecht,

The Haskell Company and Ellis Don Construction

Stone Fabricators: Savema, S.p.A. (MIA Member), GMT, S.p.A.

Judges’ Comments:

“Very impressive convincing owners to switch from stucco to granite and reap the long-term benefits of a durable, yet beautiful material.”

“Wow! Layman or professional - one cannot ignore this striking form.”

“…from the ‘ordinary and expected’ . . . to the ‘extraordinary’ when the owners requested stone for exterior cladding. This results in a landmark project which will endure.”

Award of Excellence- COMMERCIAL Interior

Project Name:2101 L Street NW, Washington, DC

MIA Member Company: Rugo Stone, LLC, Lorton, VA, Stone Installer and Supplier

Project Description:

2101 L Street, NW is a renovation project where the existing structure remained and the interior was modified for a new ground level lobby design.

This is a modern design: clean, long, narrow wall panels and pavers where alignment of stone joints between walls, floors and doorways are critical.

The lobby paving consisted of 4,000 square feet of Basaltina vein-cut stone quarried near Rome, Italy. The lobby wall veneer consisted of 3,400 square feet of Statuario Venato marble quarried in Carrara, Italy.

This entire project utilized designer involvement - from the selection of blocks with the right vein pattern to the placement of panels on the slabs, culminating with the factory dryset over a five-day period to fully blend the walls.

Other Project Team Members:

Architect: WDG Architecture

General Contractor: Balfour-Beatty

Stone Suppliers: North Carolina Granite Corp.

Stone Fabricator: Santucci Armando, srl

Judges’ Comments:

“Stone always must be properly selected - this was professionally selected.”

“Clean, straighter lines and good combination of cool, contemporary colors. I really liked the patterns of the Statuario marble in random viewing patterns, as opposed to traditional book-matching, to achieve a very modern look.”

“This sleek modern lobby interior is spectacular in its simplicity. The elegantly veined marble is almost sculptural in its planar contrast with the dark Basaltina sandstone floor.”

Award of Excellence-Renovation/restoration

Project Name:Old Red Courthouse Clock Tower, Dallas, TX

MIA Member Company:Dee Brown, Inc., Garland, TX, Stone Subcontractor

Project Description:

Constructed in the 1890s, the Old Red Courthouse has always been an historic landmark for Dallas County. Construction of Old Red is in the Richardson Romanesque style utilizing load-bearing brick masonry and full-depth through-wall cubic stone.

Original 1890s construction included the bell tower, but it was dismantled in 1919 when the building’s structure proved incapable of supporting it. In the 1990s, a movement to restore Old Red began. Restoration was ultimately undertaken by phase, resulting in the bell towers completion in 2007.

Modern construction allowed the new bell tower to be supported by a steel structure, eliminating the source of the original bell tower’s problems. Extensive research was undertaken to match the original stone, resulting in the use of Torrey sandstone and Vermillion and Morning Mist granites. Stone was fabricated in cubic through-wall pieces with hand-pitched faces. It was laid in largely the same fashion as in the 1890s, but utilized modern engineered anchorages to hold the 5,500 cubic feet of stone.

Other Project Team Members:

Owner: Dallas County

Architect: James Pratt & Associates

General Contractor: Thos. S. Byrne, LTD

Stone Suppliers: State Stone Corp. (MIA Member), Freshwater Stone & Brickwork, Inc., Granicor (MIA Member)

Judges’ Comments:

“This project is classic renovation/restoration, matching stones and workmanship that are no longer in use. Well done.”

“This is a true renovation challenge - to match the material and craft from four to five generations also is a remarkable feat.”

“A beautifully crafted renovation to a magnificent building! The challenge is matching stone and construction techniques from over 100 years ago.”

Award of Merit- Residential interior/exterior

Project Name: 25 Bond Street, New York, NY

MIA Member Company:Walker Zanger, Charlotte, NC, Stone Supplier and Fabricator

Project Description:

25 Bond Street is a new luxury residential building located in NoHo, a neighborhood with many distinctive cast iron and masonry structures. The design combines the qualities of these historic building types in a muscular yet graceful composition very clearly of our time.

Two types of stone were used for the facade, Benjamin Gold from Israel and Oro Tocano from Egypt, to form a double-layered screen. The qualities of the stone screen were studied to be similar in character to the masonry context and in openness to its cast iron neighbors. The facade was also carefully crafted and detailed, as evidenced by the hand-tooled, medium-pointed chisel finish and pinwheel jointing of the stone. A total of 15,000 square feet of stone was crafted by hand. Several different finishes, on the same stones, were used for the terrace and rooftop paving, lobby and courtyard.

Other Project Team Members:

Developer: Goldman Properties

General Contractor: Ideal Construction

Stone Installer: Expertise Stone

Judges’ Comments:

“The detail in the paving is remarkable - extremely imaginative. Interesting use of textures in the facade.”

“Not a traditional residential entry, but an entry most New Yorkers would appreciate.”

“The crisp geometry of the facade of this building and the layering of the two planes of stone comprise a strong solution to the urban fabric. The technology involved in the slabs used in the sidewalk represented a Herculean effort coupled with a beautiful result.”

Award of Merit- Commercial exterior

Project Name:Club Campestre Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico

MIA Member Company: Marble World, S.A. de C.V., Garza Garcia, NL, Mexico, Stone Supplier and Installer

Project Description:

The Club Campestre Monterrey is one of the most important exclusive Golf Clubs in Mexico. In 2007, after consulting with the entire membership, the Board of Directors decided to completely tear down the old clubhouse and build a new one.

The architect desired uniquely finished granite for the exterior and interior walls of the building and went with a mixed bushhammered and honed finish for these vertical surfaces. These exterior and interior walls consist of 80,000 square feet of Chinese G 862 granite. In the main lobby, the same Chinese G 682 granite was utilized, but for the floors, bathrooms and lounge areas, 50,000 square feet of Tunas Green Castor Brown Brazilian granites were utilized.

The 130,000 square feet of natural stone that was used in this project took four months to be fully installed.

Other Project Team Members:

Architect: Bernardo Hinojosa

Judges’ Comments:

“I like architectural design that is out of context with what you expect. Great design for a golf clubhouse and good selection of exterior granite.”

“Simplicity in design and quality in craft combine for a pleasing result.”

“The sophisticated stone finishes on this project provide a strong design statement to this clubhouse. I was impressed with the clean, strong sculptural lines of this building, and how the stone reinforced them.”

Award of Merit- Renovation/restoration

Project Name: Utah State Capitol Podium, Salt Lake City, UT

MIA Member Company: KEPCO+, Salt Lake City, UT, Stone Installer

Project Description:

Incorporating six types of natural stone from four different countries and utilizing the teamwork of four MIA-member companies, the recently completed Utah State Capitol Podium project truly embodies the stately elegance and international appeal of natural stone. Constructed as part of the Utah State Capitol renovation, the 122,500 square feet of natural stone encompassing the Podium offers an ornate public space that can be used for ceremonies, demonstrations or concerts.

Other Project Team Members:

Client: State of Utah Capitol Preservation Board

Architect: Capitol Design Team

General Contractor: Jacobsen-Hunt Joint Venture

Stone Fabricators: Campolonghi Italia (MIA Member),

AGM (MIA Member) and Bestview International (MIA Member)

Judges’ Comments:

“The magnitude of this addition and renovation is impressive. Beautiful job of matching original materials. Loved the carved lions.”

“Utah State Capitol - this great and stately building has been carefully renewed to its original majesty with its new plaza and the state campus.”

“The new blends with the existing seamlessly. An attractive result!”

Special Award- artistry and technology

Project Name: Solar Light Sculptures, Culver City, CA

MIA Member Companies: Campolonghi Italia srl, Massa, Italy, Stone Supplier and Fabricator;  Dee Brown, Inc., Garland, TX, Installation Consultant

Project Description:

“Illumination” is envisioned as a sustainable artwork which combines sculpture, landscape, solar power and light. “Illuminaton” alludes to both the physical and metaphorical sense of the word and consists of a series of seven solar-powered light sculptures which define the entrance drive to the new Symantec facility in Culver City, CA.

The idea of harnessing the beautiful quality of light in Southern California and using it as a synthesis of artistic expression and sustainability is the basis of this “Carbon-Conscious” artwork. Energy from the sun is collected via photovoltaic arrays which are incorporated into solid 18-foot-tall x 2-foot, 9-inch diameter free-standing, honed Carrara White marble columns topped with horizontal 1-foot, 4-inch diameter x 12-foot-long “light tubes” fabricated from translucent white marble. The “light tubes” house a striking interior lighting component which emits a glow through the luminous stone. This project achieved LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Other Project Team Members:

General Contractor: Webcor Builders

Artist/Stone Installer: Brad J. Goldberg, Inc.

Stone Consultant: Giovanni D’Angiolo (MIA Member)

Judges’ Comments:

“Interesting combination of artistic lighting and ‘in your face’ solar technology.”

“A graceful blend of technology and art.”

“This is a unique combination of artistry and technology. Brad Goldberg’s solution of ‘carbon-conscious’ artwork features a great contrast of materiality - stone that’s massive for columns and stone that’s translucent for light tubes - and all woven together with the technology of the photo voltaic panels.”