2019 Associated Builders and Contractors Houston Excellence in Construction ICE Award – Finish Interior


The new Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center is located on the Texas A&M University campus, directly across from Kyle Field stadium. The 8-story, 252,000 sq. ft. hotel and conference center officially opened in August 2018. The hotel consists of a two-level podium, containing the conference center and ballroom. The upper six floors of the glass and brick tower house 250 hotel guest rooms/suites. Amenities of the 4-star, full-service hotel and conference center include upscale guest rooms featuring state-of-the-art technology, a full-service restaurant, bars and lounges, a gym, a business center and 35,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space. It also has an outdoor amenity level on the third floor with a swimming pool that prominently features the Texas A&M University logo and a view of Kyle Field.

Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. (CMS) installed over 98,000 sq. ft. of tile on the project. The original list of materials called for a combination of 33 different sizes and finishes. Nine different vendors were utilized in the acquisition of the tile. In addition to the 33 types, sizes and finishes for the tile, nine different colors of grout were chosen. These choices required meticulous procurement coordination and careful material distribution to the proper installation areas. This was critical since this hotel on was a tight completion schedule to open in time for the first Aggie football game.

The main lobby entry consists of Material Stones 06 Natural Porcelain with an additional 7,300 sq. ft. of 24” x 48” Burl White Natural Porcelain throughout the remainder of the lobby. The monumental stair leading from level 1 to level 3 is clad with Panoramic large format porcelain tile veneer on the steps and landings. Behind the Concierge desk, Winter Chop Ledge Stone Dry Stack in various sizes was installed to complement the “Aggie Maroon” wall.

In the back of the house there is a 10,000 sq. ft. kitchen to service the restaurant and bar areas. Stain and slip-resistant Quarry Textures 4” x 8” pavers were installed in this area over a sloped mudbed. In the buffet area of the restaurant, CMS installed Arc Series Matte White 1” x 2” tiles on the backsplash accent walls and a contrasting Cepac Contour Steel Gray 2” x 4” on the accent walls in the exhibition kitchen. The bistro counter wall features Catalyst Hydrogen Mosaic which is an unusual multi-surface hexagon shaped combination of tiles.

The first and second levels of the hotel are serviced by two large sets of public restrooms. The restroom floors are tiled with 900 sq. ft. Boulevard Gracia 12” x 24”. The walls of the restroom stalls have 450 sq. ft. Pulis Vision Tassellato 9” x 36” porcelain tile and the accent walls have 150 sq. ft. Cepac Classic Rounds. The installation of a Schluter metal cove base differentiates these restrooms from what would be found in a typical hotel.

The main function of the second level is the conference center. The pre-function/coffee break area floors for the conference rooms are Burl White Natural Porcelain 24” x 48” pavers and the elevator lobby walls are clad with large format tile.

The 12th Man Bar was completed with a combination of quartz, marble and porcelain tile that created a challenging installation. The finishes consisted of Marble Croix Brown 12” x 12” marble, Bronze Matte 12” x 24” porcelain, and Calacatta & Molten Gray quartz. The thickness of the quartz material is 2 cm compared to 1 cm for the porcelain tile, which meant that 1 cm of the quartz tile would be exposed. In order to provide a refined finish, CMS polished all edges of the quartz tile prior to installation.

The 250 guest rooms on levels 3 thru 8 utilize Dune Blanco porcelain tile. Approximately 32,000 sq. ft. of 12” x 12” and 12” x 24” was used for the room entries and restroom floors. These restrooms are clad with 2,900 sq. ft. of 2” x 2” tile on the shower floors along with 20,200 sq. ft. of 6” x 24” wall tile. As part of the quality control efforts on this project, CMS completed waterproofing tests for each shower prior to installing the finish tile to ensure the showers were water tight.

In addition to the typical rooms there are two suites with upgraded finishes. Each room has a double-sided fireplace clad with 6” x 24” honed White Birch Ledgestone. The master bath in each suite has 300 sq. ft. of Expanse Basalt 24” x 48” floor tile and 360 sq. ft. of White Burl Polished 24” x 48” floor tile with an accent wall featuring 48 sq. ft. of Splitface Silvertron Mini at the vanity back splash. The wall behind the soaking tub is a combination of Expanse Basalt 24” x 48” cut to 8” strips and Splitface Silvertron Mini set on a 45-degree angle, creating a chevron pattern. The shower floor is Chiado Atolia 2” x 2” mosaic. The kitchen/bar area backsplash in each suite is accented with Peperino stained glass tile.

Despite the numerous types of tile and finishes on this fast-paced project, CMS was able to meet the schedule and provide a visually stunning interior to be enjoyed by alumni, current students and their parents or any other traveler visiting the area.

2019 Associated Builders and Contractors Houston Excellence in Construction ICE Award – Finish Exterior

Mid Lane II, now known as The Ivy, is a 17-story, 297-unit residential project constructed in Houston’s River Oaks District. The Ivy is part of a larger 835,000-square-foot mixed-use development on 11.5 acres called Park Place River Oaks. This brick, stone, stucco, concrete and steel building, which was inspired by a London hotel, enhances the skyline in this prestigious area.

Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. (CMS) scope of work consisted of the supply and installation of 48,000 sq. ft. of lightweight CMU walls in the interior of the residential tower and the parking garage, 26,000 sq. ft. of cubic cast stone veneer on levels 1 through 3 of the residential tower facade and on the level 8 amenities deck, and 94,000 sq. ft. of king-size brick veneer on the residential tower facade. In addition, CMS provided the design and engineering of the cast stone anchorage system and shop drawings for the cast stone.

The CMU installation on this project included several large masonry openings that consisted of multiple-layered bond beams. Special care was required in order to construct these large openings. The shoring and bracing system used was much larger than normal and careful placement was required in order to maintain a consistent height dimension along the entire width of each opening.

The brick veneer on this project involved the strategic stocking of materials on each floor around its respective interior perimeter to allow for a continuous and unimpeded supply of materials to the installers working on the scaffold. The materials were lifted up and into the building using a buck hoist, then distributed manually around each of the respective levels. All materials were then fed through openings in the building to the installers on the scaffold. To minimize down time, mortar mixers were located inside the building on each floor to ensure a steady and uninterrupted supply but this also necessitated rigorous containment protocol. The brick design contains a tremendous amount of conspicuous lines as it is comprised of a series of tall and often ‘stepped’ columns. Thus, the visual lines are carried for many floors. This required excellent coordination with other trades, layout accuracy and installation precision.

The work on the pool deck consisted of large expanses of curved masonry walls and coping. A complete survey of the area was required to ensure proper fabrication of the cast stone and proper installation of the curved brick veneer walls. A spiral balustrade constructed of cast stone required full-size templating of the area. Special care was required during the installation of the masonry to ensure proper alignment of various elements across the entire expanse of the pool deck.

The cast stone on this project consisted of numerous large and highly articulated pieces that required special handling during installation. Each piece had to be delivered to the installers on the upper levels of the scaffold using large telescopic forklifts, then the piece was sent into place while still supported in its respective rigging. CMS employed its experience with dimensional stone facades to shift the methodology of the cast stone anchorage and associated substrate in order to minimize installation challenges. A great deal of expertise was required to redesign the cast stone anchorage and corresponding substrate while not delaying the aggressive schedule. Initially, the cast stone was to be installed with mortared joints, brick veneer anchors and almost no movement joints. CMS collaborated with the architect to shift to mechanical anchors and more frequent caulked movement joints to avoid significant cracking in the mortar between stones. The cast stone anchor system was fully designed by a professional engineer and each type of anchor had its own unique attachment. Due to the lead time on the shop drawings, anchorage engineering and cast stone manufacture, the final cast stone anchorage design allowed for the brickwork to begin above it prior to installation of the cast stone. In addition, the new cast stone anchorage design eliminated the installation concerns at the third floor material change by allowing the installation of the cast stone cornice pieces after completion of the brickwork above. In conjunction with this change, CMS coordinated the associated redesign of the substrate and all cast stone arch pieces were engineered and anchored such that no formwork was needed during erection.

Extensive knowledge of dimensional stone facades, scaffolding systems and high rise construction was necessary to execute the highly articulated and massive cast stone elements and intricate brick veneer installations. The aggressive construction schedule ultimately called for the simultaneous installation of the interior CMU walls, the exterior cast stone veneer on levels one through three and the exterior brick veneer on levels four through eighteen. This required careful planning in the fabrication and delivery of the materials and the implementation of a mixed conventional frame and multi-point suspended scaffolding system. The conventional frame scaffolding was used on floors one through three for the cast stone installation while the suspended scaffolding was hung from outrigger beams above for the brick veneer installation. Safety considerations required careful coordination of the brick and cast stone installation sequences such that working directly on top of each other would be minimized. This method of construction also required the use of overhead protection atop the conventional scaffold on the lower levels to allow for simultaneous work on the brick veneer above.

The project was completed on time and well within budget while working over 115,000 hours in difficult circumstances with no recordable or lost time accidents. Great care was required in the coordination of the masonry with the other elements of the facade to ensure a harmonious blend of materials in the finished product. The highly articulated and massive cast stone elements combined with the intricate and detailed brick veneer resulted in a building facade that exemplifies the craftsmanship and dexterity of our masons.

2019 Associated Builders and Contractors Houston Excellence in Construction Merit Award – Finish Exterior

The new Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center is located on the Texas A&M University Campus, directly across from the Kyle Field football stadium. The 8-story, 252,000 sq. ft. hotel and conference center officially opened in August of 2018. The upscale hotel sits atop a two-level podium housing the conference center, banquet facilities, and 8,300 [...]

Continue reading...

2019 Associated Builders and Contractors Houston Excellence in Construction Merit Award – Finish Interior

Frost Tower is the first downtown skyscraper to be built in San Antonio Texas in nearly 30 years. The 23 story, 460,000 square foot, building broke ground in March of 2017 and opened its doors on July 1, 2019. The goal was to create an authentic space in the urban core of the city while [...]

Continue reading...

2019 Associated Builders and Contractors Houston Excellence in Construction Merit Award – Finish Interior


West Memorial Place Phase II is the second building of a Class A office development situated on twelve acres at one of the preeminent international locations for businesses in Houston. Phase II is a fourteen story 340,000 sq. ft. LEED Platinum office building with an adjacent eight story parking garage. The development contains on site [...]

Continue reading...

2019 Associated Builders and Contractors Houston Excellence in Construction Merit Award – Sitework/Landscaping

The Glassell School of Art addition to the Museum of Fine Arts – Houston included an extensive landscape package, the Brown Plaza. Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. (CMS) was responsible for the stone scope of the project including shop drawings and the supply and installation of 26,500 sq. ft. of 1 ½” thick thermal Carnelian granite [...]

Continue reading...
associations associations associations associations associations associations associations associations associations associations
©2013, Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd.    |    Houston Website Redesign