2013 Golden Trowel Awards – Honor

Houston, TX (Sept., 2013) – The Associated Masonry Contractors of Houston presented Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. with the Golden Trowel Honor Award in Hardscape / Landscape category for Bush Presidential Library Center

The George W. Bush Presidential Center is a 226,560-square foot center located on the Southern Methodist University campus that houses a library and a museum, presidential archives, a public policy institute, the Bush foundation and a 15-acre park, all honoring former President Bush’s two terms in office. The design of the nation’s 13th presidential library required several different masonry materials, all of which originated within 500 miles of its location in Dallas, TX.

Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. (CMS) scope of work and materials installed included:

• Over 243,000 paper cut Burlington modular brick by the Columbus Brick Company, Columbus, Mississippi were used on the site retaining walls, divider walls, serpentine garage entry walls and mechanical yard walls.

• 7,400 square feet native Texas Lueders limestone was used on the serpentine rusticated site walls. The wall stones were a consistent 6” tall but ranged in length from 1’ to 4’ and ranged in thickness from 3” to 5” and were installed in an intentionally random fashion. The cap stones were a consistent 2’ wide and 1’ thick but ranged in length from 1’ to 4’, thus yielding stones weighing as much as 1,120 pounds.

• 1,040 square feet of native Permian Sea Coral limestone was used for the access ramp and South terrace walls and cap; along with the base of the brick clad mechanical walls. The wall cladding was 2 5/8” thick and utilized a sandblasted finish while the 4 ¼” coping was fabricated in a honed finish.

• 11,000 square feet of Native Texas Lueders limestone pavers with a bush-hammered finish were used on the main path and the ceremonial drop off area. Each paver panel pattern was designed uniquely between intersecting roads and running trails.

• The amphitheater consisted of eighty-two boulders ranging in size from 3’-0” to 8’-0” long and 2’-0” to 3’-0” wide by 1’-0” to 1’-8” tall. These boulders are designed to act as seats and are installed in a traditional amphitheatre radius layout. The boulders weighed a combined 60 tons and ranged from 265 lbs to 535 lbs each.

CMS had logistic and coordination challenges, as the landscaping phase had to be built simultaneously with the building construction. The retaining walls needed to be built without blocking access to the building and within the project schedule allowing the finish landscaping trades to backfill the rolling man made hills and plant the scenic vegetation. Another challenge was laying out the serpentine walls on uneven grades. CMS had to sift through all the different size limestone units and piece together the splayed cap to accommodate the top of the wall. Coordination of work on the heavy traveled campus roads required careful planning in order to install the paving and brick along the north parking wall that divided the site construction from student housing.

A perfect example of the use of different masonry units to achieve the required design, the center carries forward the tradition of Southern Methodist University’s Georgian Revival style campus.

Architect: Michael Van Valkenbugh
General Contractor: Manhattan Construction

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