The Marble Institute of America(MIA) announced the winners of the 2012 Pinnacle Awards competition during its annual Awards Luncheon, held duringStonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2013in Las Vegas, NV. The Pinnacle Awards recognize excellence in commercial, residential, sustainability and renovation/restoration ofnatural stoneprojects worldwide. Projects selected as winners must demonstrate exceptional beauty, creativity, ingenuity, and craftsmanship in the use of granite, marble, travertine, limestone, and other natural stones. The competition is open to MIA members around the world. 

The MIA also presented the 5th annual Grande Pinnacle Award, sponsored by Marmomacc. The 2012 Grande Pinnacle Award winner is Grazzini Brothers & Co. of Eagan, MN, for the interior work on the Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum in Minneapolis, MN. Challenged with adding a large structure to a much-beloved place, a strategy was developed that protected and enhanced the cemetery’s historic landscape. At the mausoleum’s entry, an intricately patterned white mosaic rendered in infinite loops across white billowing surfaces re-imagines the historic 1910 Lakewood Chapel’s colorful mosaic interiors. The interior committal space is clad with Alabama White marble walls. Horizontal bands of split-faced gray granite tie the structure to the earth. The architectural firm of HGA Architects of Minneapolis, MN, was also presented with a Grande Pinnacle Award for the Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum.

Award of Excellence - Commercial Interior;

Grand Pinnacle Award

Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum, Minneapolis, MN

With the existing mausoleum nearing capacity, Lakewood developed a plan for a new 24,500-square-foot mausoleum that includes burial space for more than 10,000, a chapel, reception center and new landscaping on four acres.

Challenged with adding a large structure to a much-beloved place, a strategy was developed that protected and enhanced the cemetery’s historic landscape. Two-thirds of the building is tucked into a hillside to minimize the massing at street level. A green roof planted over the lower level extends the cemetery’s lawn while angled grass mounds articulate skylights for the building’s subterranean spaces.

At the mausoleum’s entry, an intricately patterned white mosaic rendered in infinite loops across white billowing surfaces re-imagines the historic 1910 Lakewood Chapel’s colorful mosaic interiors. The interior committal space is clad with Alabama White marble walls. Horizontal bands of split-faced gray granite tie the structure to the earth. Bronze doors usher visitors into a serene space of mahogany walls, marble floors and abundant daylight.

A generously scaled stair draws visitors from the entry to the lower garden level. Stretching east, a single hallway strings together alternating bays of columbarium and crypt rooms. While geometrically similar, each chamber is distinguished by subtle “soft muted grey veining.” Inset floors of luminous onyx alternate between honey yellow, jade green, coral pink and accents of Nero Marquina. Window and skylight orientations rotate and shift between rooms, variously framing views to near and distant horizons or up to the tree canopy and clear sky.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Installer: Grazzini Brothers & Company, Eagan, MN

Other Project Team Members:

Client: Lakewood Cemetery

Architect/Designer: HGA Architects

General Contractor: M.A. Mortenson Construction

Stone Suppliers: Santucci Armando s.r.l. (MIA Member Company);Terrazzo & Marble Supply Co. (MIA Member Company);Cold Spring Granite (MIA Member Company)

Stone Fabricator: Santucci Armando s.r.l. (MIA Member Company)

Stone: Green Onyx, Honey Onyx, Pink Onyx, Alabama White, Nero Marquina



Award of Excellence - Commercial Exterior

Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum, Minneapolis, MN

Lakewood’s new garden mausoleum is a modern work of art with a contemporary design in a peaceful setting. Balancing stone and light, the rough-textured granite and mosaic marble mausoleum displays the relationship between the spiritual and the earth. The mausoleum, which opened in January 2012, was designed by Joan M. Soranno, FAIA, Design Principal, and John Cook, FAIA, Project Manager, from the Minneapolis office of HGA. Soranno chose a combination of Cold Spring Granite’s Academy Black® and Charcoal Black® granites for the rough split face veneer.

The granite was installed with extensive lippage, intentionally creating irregularities. Soranno explained that the sought-after effect produces complex shadows. Only one-third of the structure is above ground with the granite facade blending with the surrounding landscape. It was important to Soranno that the building design and materials worked intimately with nature, providing a final serenity.

The area is complemented by granite benches, a pool and paved walkways in Cold Spring Granite’s subdued Diamond Pink® granite, invoking a sense of peaceful paths and quiet resting places leading to the mausoleum.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Supplier/ Stone Fabricator: Cold Spring Granite, Cold Spring, MN

Other Project Team Members:

Client: Lakewood Cemetery Association

Architect: HGA Architects

Stone Installers: M.A. Mortenson Construction; CD Tile & Stone; Grazzini Brothers (MIA Member Company)

Stone: Academy Black® Granite, Charcoal Black® Granite, Diamond Pink® Granite



Award of Excellence - Commercial Exterior

National September 11 Memorial, New York, NY

Building the National September 11 Memorial was one of international significance, especially because Port Morris had worked on the original Twin Towers. Port Morris installed both of the 200-foot north and south fountains, which have honed Jet Mist granite, from A. Lacroix Granit in Canada, installed on the interior walls. Each piece weighs approximately 300 pounds and there were 3,500 pieces (63,000 square feet) of this granite used.

The flamed granite pavers and cobblestones, installed over the entire concourse, were also part of this project. Port Morris installed 115,000 square feet of cut-to-size Verde Fontaine granite pavers and 65,000 square feet of Verde Fontaine cobblestones throughout the plaza along with over 100 benches and steps in the same material.

There were major milestones that needed to be hit in order to stay on track for the Memorial opening date 9/11/2012, the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Completing the walls on schedule was crucial to ensure all water tests, bronze plating and other items were also completed in time. Both fountains with running water were completed by the 10th anniversary, along with 90,000 square feet of pavers and cobblestones on the plaza.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Installer: Port Morris Tile & Marble, Bronx, NY

Other Project Team Members:

Stone Supplier: A. Lacroix Granit, Canada (MIA Member Company)

Architects: Michael Arad, Peter Walker

Stone: Jet Mist granite, Verde Fontaine



Award of Excellence - Residential Interior/Exterior

Desert Courtyard, Scottsdale, AZ

This private residence in Arizona has 22 exquisite slabs of onyx in the master bathroom.

The overall goal of this project was to create a museum experience for the homeowners, yet have it remain comfortable and livable. The master bathroom contains an 18- x 10-foot-tall backlit shower wall that opens to a private outdoor space.

Walls within the 440-square-foot master bath were floated square and plumb, waterproofed and clad with the direct adhered method per the MIA installation standard for wet areas-stone slab residential showers. The onyx slabs were sized, templated for random colors, cut and fabricated with a 1/16-inch chamfer to create a jeweled edge. Hidden in these walls were backlit medicine cabinets, trash bins, and accent panels. Each panel was highlighted with a stainless muntz bar on all sides. The custom backlit trough sinks were fabricated to contain a slot drain and functioning drawers.

The entire master bath floor was treated as a wet area with a suspended shower floor. A secondary shower floor underneath pitched water to the drain system below.

MIA Member Company:

Fabricator and Installer: Picasso Tile & Stonework, Tempe, AZ

Other Project Team Members:

Architect:Wendell Burnette

General Contractor:The
Construction Zone

Stone Supplier: Puccio




Award of Excellence - Renovation/Restoration

St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, Leesburg, VA

The new Roman Catholic Church dedicated to Saint John the Apostle is located in the historic town of Leesburg, VA. This project is an example of salvaging sacramental elements and incorporating them into a new church’s design. Rugo Stone was hired to dismantle the altar from a church in Newark, NJ, and relocate the altar to Leesburg. The dismantle period lasted four weeks. Working 14 hours per day, 7 days a week, Rugo successfully dismantled the rear altar which rose 35 feet off the floor. In May 2012, the Rugo installation team erected an overhead crane system designed to lift and install the massive marble elements. Rugo’s marble masons and riggers erected the entire rear altar over a 10-week period.

Rugo also restored and fabricated various replacement pieces, installed five side shrines, the main altar, the pulpit and three restored baptismal fonts. In addition, Rugo was commissioned to carve two sculptures; Saint Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, along with two small bas-relief carvings of Saint Peter and Saint Teresa.

The work was completed on August 2, 2012 and the church was dedicated on schedule, August 3, 2012.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator/Stone Installer:Rugo Stone, LLC, Natural Stone & Mosaic Contractors,Lorton, VA

Other Project Team Members:

Client: Saint John the Apostle Catholic Church

Architect:Franck & Lohsen Architects

General Contractor: Whiting Turner Contracting Company

Stone: Bianco P marble, Antique Algerian, Yellow onyx, Giallo Siena marble, Calacatta Vagli Rosato, Porta Santa marble, Hauteville, Verde Aosta, Rosso Antico D’Italia, Bianco Michelangelo marble



Award of Excellence - Residential Interior/Exterior

1910 Harris Country Courthouse Restoration, Houston, TX

Completed in 1910, the fifth Harris County Courthouse was designed by the Dallas firm of Lang and Witchell in a Beaux Arts or Classical Revival style, with a requisite dome and Corinthian Columns. In 1953, updates to modernize the style of the building and increase its useable interior space resulted in massive architectural degradations, particularly in the building’s interior.

All of that changed for the Palace of Justice in 2003, when an enormous effort was begun to restore the elaborate interior elements involving plaster, metal, glass, wood and stone ornamentation to its original glory.

Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd’s scope of work included the removal, cataloging, cleaning, restoration and installation of the Georgia “Pearl” stone. The salvaged stone was reinstalled alongside the new stone, such that the new is nearly undetectable from the old; a result of the cleaning and restoration of all interior stone. Tennessee Marble Company was tasked with supplying stone that matched the 100-year-old stone to the exact color and veining characteristics of the existing marble. This included the book matching and diamond matching in the atrium that was uniquely challenging, but breathtaking in result. In all cases with the stone and ceramic tile, Camarata’s restoration work involved many tedious tasks of matching ceramic tile, mosaics and stone in the 160,000-square-foot interior spaces. The result was a well executed, highly ornate stone and mosaic tile project.

MIA Member Companies:

Stone Contractor: Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd., Houston, TX

Stone Fabricator: Tennessee Marble Company, Friendsville, TN

Other Project Team Members:

Owner: Harris County

Architect: PGAL

Preservation Architect: Architexas

General Contractor/Client: Vaughn Construction

Stone: Georgia Pearl Gray



Award of Excellence - Residential Interior/Exterior

Muag Thong Thani Residence, Nonthaburi, Thailand

The primary concept was inspired by the idea of Asian privacy — nature, peace and solitude. The sandstone walls accentuated with teak wood flooring give the feeling of a balance of natural elements within the house. Each of the feature walls successfully devise a natural partition against less positive surroundings. This allowed the architect to create a tranquil confine for the owner to reside.

The secondary concept stems from the owner’s individuality. The feature walls put an emphasis on elements of space, time and ambiance created by natural light, beams, a skylight, shadows and texture of materials as the sun moves, producing continual changes of various dimensions. This design is purely driven by the needs of the owner coupled with the composed ideals of the architect.

MIA Member Company:

Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator/Stone Installer: Stones and Roses International Co. Ltd.,Samutprakam, Thailand

Other Project Team Members:

Client; Mr. Yangyong Prathuagwong

Architect: Pattapon Prathuangwong

General Contractor: UPT Group United

Stone: Buff sandstone, Beige sandstone, Cream limestone, White limestone, Black slate



Award of Merit - Commerical Interior

St. Regis Spa, Miami Beach, FL

The comfort of the St. Regis Spa, with interiors designed by Yabu Pushelberg, showcases a modern style with custom furnishings and finishes. The Remède Spa is an extension and perfect complement to the St. Regis Resort located at Bal Harbour in South Florida. A palette of soothing colors with striking chartreuse accents, beautiful marble floors and walls, and luxurious spaces invite guests to feel one with nature and to delight in discovering the sea-inspired themes throughout. The high-end selections of natural stone allowed the achievement of an elegant and inspirational atmosphere. All floors and walls are clad with the highest quality Italian Navona travertine and the reception desk with the stunning Spring Creek has transformed this 12,000-square-foot spa into a sanctuary of tranquility. Twin Stone achieved the main goals of fine workmanship and top quality materials at the St. Regis Spa.

MIA Member Company:

 Stone Supplier/Stone Fabricator/Stone Installer:Twin Stone
Designs & Installations, Inc., Hollywood, FL

Other Project Team Members:

Client: Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Architect/Designer: Yabu Pushelberg

General Contractor: Coastal Constructions

Stone: Navona travertine, Spring Creek marble


Award of Merit - Commerical Interior

Ocean Financial Centre, Singapore

M&G Contracts was tasked to fabricate and supply Travertino Chiaro from Italy for the feature wall of this prominent project. The stones were carried along a continuous layout from the main lift lobby interior to the external walls, measuring 50 feet high with a combined length of more than 656 feet.

The challenge was to follow the design intent of having vein-cut travertine presented in a continuous and seamless manner, so that it appears as though the walls were carved out directly from the quarry.

Blocks were pre-selected and inspected at the quarry to ensure that the size, color and veining were suitable for the project. Fabrication was thoroughly planned, with each bundle of slabs from individual blocks marked and assigned to a specific ‘layer’ of each elevation according to their veining character, before further processing in a slab-matched sequence to ensure the continuous flow of the veins. Finally, all the cut panels for each elevation were dry laid for approval, adjusted as required, and marked accordingly for installation.