2018 Associated Masonry Contractors of Houston Golden Trowel Excellence Award – Hardscape/Landscape

The Marriott Marquis is the newest addition to the Houston downtown skyline.  The 1,000 room hotel has over 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including Houston’s largest ballroom.  This 30-story hotel is recognized for its unique Texas-shaped lazy river and heated infinity pool located on the sixth floor amenity deck overlooking Discovery Green Park.

Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. (CMS) supplied and installed limestone and cast stone coping and veneer throughout the landscape of the level six amenity deck.  The landscape consisted of large limestone planters, short cast stone planters and two fire pits using the following material:

2,135 pieces (2,735 sq. ft.) of 1” thick honed and tumbled ivory limestone ranging from 1’-1/2” to 5 5/8” tall by 2’ wide.

974 pieces (1,223 sq. ft.) of 1 ¾” thick ivory limestone coping.  The coping was required to have a honed top finish with cleft finished sides and the average size was about 1’ wide by 11 ¾” long.

656 pieces of cast stone planter coping, ranging in radii and sizes, with an average size of 23 5/8” long by 9” wide.

One of the challenges that developed as work progressed was material distribution.  Since the crane was no longer on site when the landscape portion of work began on the level six amenity deck (110’ above finish floor), all of the stone had to be removed from the crates on the ground floor, carefully stacked in smaller quantities and transported on a pallet jack to a freight elevator.  From there the pieces were rolled to their final location, but, a direct path to the installation site rarely existed.  Distribution routes changed constantly as other trades blocked the most expeditious path while completing their work and travel around the large Texas shaped river was always required.  In addition, the stone required for the planters within the center portion of the lazy river had to be hand carried across two bridges.

Due to the unique shape of the state of Texas, different radii were needed to make the multiple corners of the state.  Special care was needed to ensure the pool, the pool coping, and the abutting planter coping had the same radii at these corners.  The anchorage of these coping pieces had to be set carefully in order to prevent damage to the water proofing near the lazy river and the pool.

Although unseen, there are over 15,000 8” x 8” x 16” CMU on the level six amenity deck.  In order to adjust for the depth of the lazy river, the pool, the plumbing, and the required drainage system, the final floor (111’-0” above finish floor) was raised 6’ above the structural floor (105’-0” above finish floor).  Before CMS could begin the landscape portion of the project that is seen by hotel visitors, over 170 individual CMU walls were built at approximately 5’ tall x 6’ long on the subfloor.  These walls were built at varying heights to match the required slope of the finish floor above and serve as supporting walls under the raised floor.  Other trades set precast planks across the walls then added pavers to achieve the finish floor for level six.

Material distribution was laborious in this portion of the project also.  In order to access the amenity subfloor where the CMU walls were built, the materials needed to be lowered 6’.  CMS installed a small material hoist to accommodate this challenge.  CMU, mortar, and grout were taken up the freight elevator to the sixth floor then rolled to the hoist to be lowered to the subfloor.  After the material was lowered, navigation through and around the large amount of plumbing pipes that were being installed on top of the subfloor for the lazy river and pool was required to distribute the material.

As the NFL’s official hotel for the 2017 Super Bowl, the grand opening was scheduled one month before the highly anticipated event.  The project schedule always showed the level six amenity deck to be one of the largest portions of the hotel to be constructed toward the end of the project.  CMS worked diligently to finish our scope of work as quickly as possible to allow proceeding trades to have time to complete their work.  Although the site was extremely crowded with multiple trades, CMS was able to complete our work on the amenity deck prior to the grand opening date.

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