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2017 Award: Cast Stone Institute Excellence Award

Project: Chelsea Montrose


The Chelsea Montrose project, currently known as The Carter-Montrose, is a 20-story luxury apartment building nestled in the heart of Montrose, a close neighbor of the Museum District and Rice University. This new addition to the Houston skyline contains 304 apartments, with premium amenity spaces and an attached parking garage with 488 parking spaces. The lavish hotel-inspired tower features five penthouse units, four townhome-style units on the ground floor, and a variety of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartment units.

Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. (CMS) provided a turnkey masonry scope of work consisting of Concrete Masonry Units (CMU), King Size Brick Veneer, Cast Stone Veneer, Cast Stone Copings, and all of the masonry accessories required for a complete masonry system. In addition, CMS was responsible for providing and installing scaffolding and scaffolding systems to allow access to 100 percent of the building’s exterior skin. This included access for all other trades to perform their applicable work from grade to the high roof and parapet wall elevations.

CMS installed over 51,000 CMU at various locations throughout the project. The CMU was primarily used in the garage to create the equipment, maintenance, and storage rooms along with the fire separation wall between the parking garage and tower. CMU was also used as the back-up for the majority of the site walls including the brick fence, fireplaces, fire pit, TV wall, and planters.

On the exterior skin, CMS installed over 630,000 field brick, which consisted of a 50/40/10 blend manufactured by Kansas Brick and Tile and 47,000 accent brick from Hanson Brick. During the layout of the brick, CMS was able to limit the number of brick cuts to eight. With the limited number of cuts, CMS was able to make all of the brick cuts from a single saw station prior to the brick being stocked on the scaffold. This allowed for a cleaner and safer jobsite by keeping the cutting process out of the building. In addition to carefully planning the layout, CMS designed and built a special jig that was used from floor to floor to hang speed poles and jack lines. The jig allowed CMS to maintain consistency from one floor to the next while adjusting for insufficiencies in the substrate. The one-two punch of the layout and jig allowed CMS to increase production and quality control, while minimizing waste.

In addition to the brick, CMS installed over 19,000 pieces of cast stone consisting of 37 different profiles ranging in weight from 15 to 200 pounds per piece. The unique two-tone color cast stone features both horizontal and vertical reveals which required special attention during the planning and construction phases. The south elevation features six levels of this glamorous cast stone and its reveals continue around the building for three levels, opening up to a striking main entrance.

To provide 100 percent access on the exterior skin of the building, CMS utilized a combination of scaffolding systems including welded tubular frame scaffold, four point suspended scaffolding, and lightweight swing stages. On the lower floors where the heavier cast stone pieces were installed, CMS used traditional welded tubular frame scaffold. As the work progressed vertically, CMS chose to use a four point suspended scaffolding, also referred to as Mason’s Adjustable Multiple Point Suspension Scaffold. This scaffold provides several benefits for high rise masonry work, such as: keeping the mason’s work at the optimal working level without requiring bending or reaching, a raised center support specifically designed to support materials at waist height, and positioning the mason inches away from the wall with limited exposure to fall hazards. For the upper levels, which did not include masonry work, CMS provided lightweight swing stages for the other trades to complete their work. This three system approach allowed for safe and practical access to the building’s skin with limited constraints.

Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. supplied and installed the brick and cast stone veneer on 19 stories of the overall 20-story tower. On the levels towering above, a rich blend of three different colored bricks complement the cast stone below. The harmony of the brick and cast stone melding together blends with the richness of this historic urban district, a place for Houstonians to call home for years to come.


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