2012 APEX 10 Award – Interior Finishes

Houston, TX (Sept., 2012) – The Houston Chapter of the Associated General Contractors presented Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. with the APEX 10 Interior Finishes Award for the El Paso Energy Tower Renovations. This project, along with Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. also received The Marble Institute of America 2012 Pinnacle Award of Merit in Interior Finishes.

The El Paso Energy Building, which is located in downtown Houston and was constructed in 1963, underwent its first major renovation since its completion. All 32 stories of the building received a renovation, with the biggest changes occurring on the exterior ground level, the interior 1st and 2nd floors, the sub-basement and the tunnel areas.

Camarata Masonry Systems (CMS) was responsible for the installation of 13,000 SF of flamed Sunset Red granite floors, 28,000 SF of flamed Victoria White granite floors, 2,000 SF of flamed Impala Black granite floors and 2,000 SF of polished Sunset Red granite walls on the exterior ground level. The interior 1st and 2nd floors consisted of new installations of 22,000 SF of polished Calacutta Gold marble, 1,000 SF of polished Impala Black granite and 100 SF of polished Victoria White granite. The sub-basement and the tunnel area consisted of new installation of 17,000 SF of flamed Victoria White granite and 500 SF of flamed Impala Black granite. CMS was also responsible for the procurement and installation of 8,000 SF of quarry floor tile, 40,000 SF of white glazed wall tile, 2,000 SF of grey porcelain floor tile, 1,000 SF of glass tile and 337 lavatory tops throughout all 32 stories and the sub-basement.

One of the major challenges in installing the new construction was that the building remained fully occupied with controlled access for its employees and useable fire exits. The project was built in sections so that an area could be fully completed and new access could be provided to the employees prior to removing the current access. This required additional planning, not only for the installation of the work but for the delivery and storage of the new construction material. This installation and storage challenge, coupled with the projects location in the heart of downtown Houston, provided CMS with multiple daily obstacles that were each met and overcome.

Another challenge involved the radius design of the building, specifically to the interior 1st and 2nd floors. CMS had to tie in multiple areas together that were built independently without interrupting the 1/8” joint lines in the stone pattern. In order to complete this task, we pulled several string lines every night to create a grid to layout the next day’s work. This was even more difficult when dealing with the limited construction access, and the ever changing tenant employee accesses and lay down areas.

The end result is a visually stunning renovation to one of the most recognizable building in the downtown area. The new renovation will provide El Paso Energy with an innovative, more energy efficient building for their employees for multiple decades to come.

Architect: Gensler Architects                                                                                General Contractor: Gilbane Building Company

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