2012 Apex Award – Exterior Finishes

Houston, TX (Sept., 2012) – The Houston Chapter of the Associated General Contractors presented Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. with the APEX 10 Exterior Finishes Award for the Texas Children’s Maternity Center.

Texas Children’s Maternity CenterThe new Texas Children’s Maternity Center is located in the Houston Medical Center. The 796,000 square foot center includes a 15 floor maternity hospital, clinic and office space as well as some pediatric components built over a 532,000 square foot, subgrade parking garage. Focused on high risk deliveries, the maternity center will connect with the current campus through a two level pedestrian bridge providing private passage for patients on the upper floor while the public travels between buildings on the lower level.

Camarata Masonry System, Ltd. (CMS) was responsible for the installation of 19,000 SF of polished Sunset Red granite, 7,000 SF of thermal Sunset Red granite, 5,000 SF of polished Olympus White marble and 800 SF of Black granite. The majority of the hand set stone was located on the exterior 1st floor level but granite was also installed on the exterior of levels 5, 6, 7, 12 and roof. CMS installed both the granite and marble utilizing extruded aluminum adjustable two-piece anchors. The anchors were designed to carry both wind load and dead load. Through the incorporation of extruded interlocking groves in the anchors and anchor washers, significant accommodation for substrate variance and vertical adjustment was provided. Even with this accommodation, several different anchor sizes were required due to varying stone piece sizes, wind loads and cavity dimensions. In addition, CMS engineered, supplied and installed the stiffener channels on the backside of the marble due to the exceptionally large spans in the thin veneer. CMS also installed 60,000 12”, 8” and 6” CMU on the subgrade garage levels.

One of the major challenges was working within the congested Houston Medical Center, which required careful coordination of deliveries and limited onsite storage. Compounding this challenge was the multiple mobilizations required to perform our work since the site is so large, only sections were available to us at a given time. CMS was also tasked with the requirement of minimizing the amount of veining allowed on the polished Olympus White marble. This marble characteristically has very pronounced veining and careful sampling and manufacturing were necessary to ensure satisfactory results. In addition, further actions were taken by CMS and its fabricator to ensure that the veining direction and patterns were consistent from stone to stone. This was accomplished by dry laying each individual stone piece by elevation prior to packaging and shipping the material to the jobsite. Pictures were taken of the laid out stone for inspection and approval by CMS. Once approved, the stones were clearly marked on the backside so that they could be installed as shown with particular attention given to the orientation of each piece.

Another unique feature involved two 35 ft long radius marble benches. The benches were designed to follow the radius of the building’s exterior. This proved exceptionally challenging since each bench was broken into 5 planes; the top horizontal piece butting the structure, the vertical back rest, the horizontal seat and the vertical leg rest and base. Each piece within a section had a different length such that the joints would align with the building elements and all other pieces in the section (that were in different planes). The back rest, leg rest and foot base pieces were fabricated with radius faces. All of these factors combined required extreme care from the shop drawing process through final installation.

Architect: FKP Architects, Inc.
General Contractor: W. S. Bellows Construction

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