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2014 Award: Associated Builders and Contractors – Houston Excellence in Construction Merit Award

Project: Mohammedi Masjid Complex

Finish Exterior

This 125,000 sq. ft. complex sits on 15 acres on the northwest side of Houston. At the front of the complex is the main prayer hall with two minarets on either side that are 104’ tall. Each minaret is composed of three tiers and veneered with Egyptian limestone up to 96’. Also clad in Egyptian limestone, the prayer hall building is an ornately detailed three story structure. To the right of the hall is a two story school building veneered in brick and cast stone housing 35 classrooms. Above the school building is a 5,000 sq. ft. penthouse.

Camarata Masonry Systems Ltd. (CMS) was responsible for the supply and installation of over 62,000 brick, 3,000 burnished CMU and 2,200 cast stone pieces. The cast stone pieces ranged from relatively lightweight coping pieces to cubic veneer stones measuring 2’5” tall x 2’7” wide x 5” thick and weighing 365 lbs. CMS installed over 22,000 pieces of Egyptian limestone. The limestone pieces included base, veneer, sills, headers, jambs and soffits ranging in thickness from 3” to 4”. Some limestone pieces formed arches throughout the elevations and standard veneer pieces were field cut to provide the appropriate radiuses for varying window sizes. In addition, CMS designed, engineered, erected and dismantled the complex scaffolding needed to access its stone installation. CMS supplied the engineering and shop drawings for the cast stone anchorage, cast stone and miscellaneous steel back up.

CMS faced many challenges on this difficult project. One of the challenges involved the scaffolding, access and distribution of heavy limestone veneer pieces for the two tall minarets. Part of the scaffolding was erected from the ground up to the top of the minaret (more than 104’ high), while the remaining part of the scaffold had to be built off the roof of the main prayer hall. The scaffolding had to service three separate stepped back tiers. Another challenge involved the design of a 4” tall limestone horizontal band found throughout the building. The 4” band was not included in every building elevation, nor did it at occur at the identical height on each elevation. Extra care was needed to ensure that the layout of each elevation tied exactly to the next and that proper bond was kept for continuity. Also, the 4” band was recessed 1” from the face, which made installing the heavy 1’ tall x 2’ long x 3” thick limestone pieces above it (with mortar embedded type anchors) extremely difficult. Tremendous care was exercised to keep the pieces in plane as the natural tendency was for the cantilevered pieces to “roll” before the mortar could setup.

The end result is a visually stunning complex that is perfectly suited for the owners and their community.


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