Hermann Park’s Conservancy’s McGovern Centennial Gardens and the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion are on 15 acres at the north side of the park, east of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The new gardens and pavilion, built on the former site of the Garden Center, represent the largest improvement project to the park since it was founded in 1914. The project includes the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion which features indoor and outdoor event space and fountains, Centennial Green – a 350 foot lawn for picnics and large scale public events, Hawkins Sculpture Walk displaying art donated from around the world, Garden Mount – a 30 foot tall hill featuring a cascading waterfall and spiraling path that leads to an overlook, and multiple gardens with shaded pathways.
Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. supplied and installed the flamed finish granite entry and plaza pavers; the structural CMU backup for the stone walls; the chiseled face granite for the pavilion walls; the flamed finish granite pavers in the pavilion interior event space; the flamed and water blasted finish granite weirs, walls and coping on the waterfall; the flamed finish waterfall pool facing; the flamed finish fountain pool coping; the brushed limestone family garden pavers; and the smooth finish limestone for the entry walls and signs.
There were many challenges on the project. Due to the random running bond joint pattern of the granite pavers in the pavilion area (having seven different sizes) and the random ashlar pattern of the limestone pavers in the family garden area (having six different sizes), there was a considerable amount of field fabrication. This was continued at the waterfall walls with rake cuts to ensure a consistent joint under the coping. All of the weirs were installed on a smooth concrete slope using a polymer modified mud bed. The pavilion wall utilized 2cm thick 4” tall x 30” long chiseled faced granite pieces with a half bond – running bond pattern. The length of the stones coupled with the rough finish and half bond pattern normally create large lips from stone to stone. Great care was taken to ensure that the wall appears flat and the lips between stones were minimized.
The project scope included the following materials:
- Cascade waterfall weirs – Cold Spring Granite 1-1/2” thick Mesabi Black granite in Diamond 100, 200 and 300 finishes totaling 500sf
- Cascade waterfall pool facing – Cold Spring Granite 2cm thick Mesabi Black granite in Diamond 100 finish totaling 500sf
- Cascade waterfall wall veneer – 2cm Phoenix Grey flamed finish granite totaling 500sf
- Cascade waterfall coping – 3” thick Phoenix Grey flamed finish granite totaling 100sf
- Family Garden – 3cm thick Texas Lueders brushed finish limestone pavers totaling 3,900sf
- Entry Signs – 3cm thick Texas Lueders smooth finish limestone veneer totaling 1,900sf
- Plaza paving types A & B – 2cm Phoenix Grey flamed finish granite totaling 13,300sf
- Plaza fountain pool coping – 3” thick Phoenix Grey flamed finish granite totaling 500sf
- Exterior Pavilion wall – 2cm New Cambrian Black chiseled finish granite measuring 4” high x 30” long and totaling 6,000sf
- Interior Pavilion event space – 3/8” Phoenix Grey flamed finish granite measuring 9” x 18” and totaling 3,000sf