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case study

Solidity, Place, and Character: Why TWTBA Uses Natural Stone

by | Feb 29, 2024

Billie Tsien and Tod Williams credit their love of stone with their frequent visits to Rome. As Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, the pair has designed and built more than 40 buildings, a large percentage of which are made using natural stone. “We’re interested in solidity, place and character,” Williams says, with the ultimate goal of creating projects “that have a long lifespan, are meaningful to the community, and will be loved for centuries.”Their choice to use natural stone is both practical and philosophical.

Timeless Beauty: Chicago Landmark Restored to Its Natural Stone Glory

by | Feb 16, 2024

After the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, many homes made of wood were destroyed. When it came time to build new homes, laws were passed to prevent a similar disaster. Fireproof materials such as brick, marble, limestone, and terracotta tile became the preferred building materials since constructing buildings with wood was banned in the downtown area. Eight years after the fire, construction of the Nickerson House on Chicago’s near northside neighborhood began. The three-story, 24,000 square foot Italianate mansion was reported to be the largest and most extravagant private residence in Chicago at the time it was completed.

Las Vegas Rock: A Rainbow in the Desert

by | Jan 2, 2024

Las Vegas isn’t known for its subtlety. But just beyond a city defined by glitz and sparkle, one can experience a whole other color spectrum—one dictated by nature rather than neon lights. The desert offers a dramatic interplay of hues and textures, as canyons and cliffs in shades of russet, mahogany, and bronze echo across the landscape. These iconic rocks are ancient sand dunes that have become frozen in time; a vast deposit of richly-colored stone that has a myriad of uses.

The Perfect Match: Digging Deep to Restore the Wyoming State Capitol

by | Nov 14, 2023

Four years of overhaul—the complex’s first major renovation since 1917—resulted in a state capitol worthy of the accolades it has received. The stonework received the 2021 Grande Pinnacle Award from the Natural Stone Institute, while awards for the total project streamed in from many trade organizations: the American Public Works Association, Building Design and Construction magazine, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado, the Construction Management Association of America, and Engineering-News Record Mountain States.

A Concrete Argument for Stone: Building for Longevity at Freedom Place

by | Oct 6, 2023

A former hospital complex originally built in 1894, the Old Parkland campus in Dallas, Texas, has seen its share of reclamation and renovation in the past decades. The most recent addition, Freedom Place at Old Parkland, echoes the campus’ existing Jeffersonian buildings in style and design. Designing and building a 140-foot, six-story structure that includes 8,310 pieces of limestone required massive planning and coordination — particularly because the original design plan was created for cast stone.

Using Locally Sourced Limestone to Add Structure and Strength to Historic Preservation Projects

by | Jun 1, 2023

Julia Manglitz, AIA, LEED AP, APT RP, has worked on several building types throughout her career: county courthouses, state capitols and office buildings, university campus halls and community centers. What makes each of these public buildings unique is they’re all landmarks in their communities. Another thing each of them has in common? Almost all feature locally or regionally-sourced natural stone.  

Thassos White Marble Adds Reflection and Beauty to 2 Bryant Park Lobby Project

by | Mar 24, 2023

Dan Shannon and his team wanted to take advantage of the unique footprint of 2 Bryant Park and connect the park to the plaza visually. Choosing the right natural stone would prove to be a pivotal decision. They decided to create a two-story high entry lobby passage through the building and elevate that open space using Thassos White marble from Greece along the primary and surrounding walls.

Dakota Mahogany: Core of the Continent

by | Mar 13, 2023

The formation of Dakota Mahogany marks the last time the Midwest endured a tectonic collision. Since then, seas have advanced and retreated across the landscape, the continents have rearranged themselves in different parts of the globe, and vast ice sheets grew, then melted, then grew again, over the course of several ice ages. After 2.6 billion years of erosion, the Midwest’s former mountain ranges have been worn down, leaving the landscape mostly flat. Through all of this, Dakota Mahogany sat patiently, waiting for its day in the sun.

Beyond Beauty: Creating Timeless Spaces with Sustainable Natural Stone

by | Jan 20, 2023

Natural stone is often chosen for residential and commercial work because of its beauty and versatility. It’s also really nuanced, according to Roger P. Jackson. He is drawn to the beauty of natural stone and believes that its beauty goes beyond aesthetics. “Natural stone feels more durable,” Jackson says. “It has a character of strength, stability, durability, and mobility.”

Range, Sustainability, and Beauty: Why Architect Craig Copeland Uses Natural Stone

by | Nov 29, 2022

There is no mistaking natural stone for its range, beauty, and sustainability. These are among the many reasons Craig Copeland, an architect, sculptor, industrial designer, and partner at Pelli Clarke & Partners finds himself recommending natural stone to many of his clients.

Cochise Marble – A Surprise in the Arizona Desert

by | Oct 8, 2022

Among sweeps of tan, red, and grey rock sits a surprise: A pocket of gleaming white marble. The Cochise Marble quarry is located near Bowie, AZ in the Chiricahua Mountain range. The original quarry operated for around thirty years, and like so many historical quarries, it shut down, sitting idle for over six decades until local businessman Matt Klump reopened it in 2002.

Undercover Artwork: Finding the Hidden Beauty in Natural Stone Slabs

by | Sep 30, 2022

Many people are drawn to natural stone because of its artistic qualities and characteristics. ALMA Studio takes it to the next level. The studio uses pure light projections to uncover, accentuate, and highlight art scenes that are hidden within the natural veining of stone slabs.

Using Natural Stone and the Golden Ratio to Add Functionality and Inspiration

by | Sep 17, 2022

Ancient Art of Stone creates one-of-a-kind stone portals at their studio in Cowichan Valley, British Columbia, Canada. They first source stones, then design and build artistic and functional fireplaces, stone doors, spas, mosaics, megaliths, and murals and ship and install them across North America.

From Waste to Wonderful: Using Salvaged Limestone at the Houston Botanic Garden

by | Aug 12, 2022

“Natural stone is such a noble material, and there’s a gravity to it that is immediately recognizable and universally appreciated by everyone,” says project director, Donna Bridgeman Rossi. “It’s not a subjective mix material, it is good in its own state that we value. You don’t have to modify it in any way to make it do what it needs to do.”

How Hana Ishikawa Builds Solid History with Genuine Natural Stone

by | May 3, 2022

One of the biggest reasons design principal Hana Ishikawa uses natural stone in her projects is because of its durability. “Natural stone has been around for millennia, and it’s much more durable than concrete,” she says. “It’s much more durable than porcelain. It’s more durable than most materials that we work with.”

How a Common Local Stone Helped Create Jobs and Inspire Design in Rwanda

by | Apr 21, 2022

In Rwanda’s Burera District, the volcanic rock pumice was undervalued and unappreciated. The mundane natural stone proved itself to be a change agent in this landlocked African country.

Granite Creates a Serene Space at the Spring Creek Nature Area

by | Apr 13, 2022

Today and for years to come, residents and visitors of Richardson, Texas, will be able to leave the chaos of the world behind and enjoy some calm and serenity as they pass through Sylvan Portals at Spring Creek Nature Area.

How Marble Added Dignity and Honored Philanthropy at Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

by | Mar 9, 2022

In 2019, a 60,000-square-foot expansion of the renowned John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was completed. A 1,200-square-foot wall of Bianco Carrara marble was created in the lobby of the new Welcome Pavilion: known as the “Gratitude Wall,” it was engraved with names of each donor.

Stone Consultant Helps Bring Presidential Memorial to Life

by | Feb 17, 2022

Knowing what to look for when sourcing natural stone is one of the reasons Enzo Giambattista, a natural stone consultant with Enmar Consulting in Ontario, Canada, was called upon to collaborate at the early design phase with Gehry Partners on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial project in Washington, D.C.

Successful Marble Matching Returns Grandeur to Historic Dallas Landmark

by | Jan 21, 2022

Restoring the building to its original grandeur was an arduous task, but the preservation architects at Architexas insisted on matching the original stone types and finishes with no compromises.