Archive (Photos)

Comfort Block: 90-Year-Old Maine Company Creates High-Performing Green Masonry Product

Masonry, one of the oldest and most beautiful trades, has been on a steady decline since the 1960s. Due to dramatic changes in the way today’s homes, chimneys, foundations and steps are being constructed, the industry is at its lowest point in 80 years. The average age of masonry professionals is increasing and the number entering apprenticeships is declining. In the northeast corner of the U.S., a Maine-based masonry company is quietly working to revive the declining industry through new product development and innovation.

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masonry hardscaping
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Hardscaping and Landscape Architecture: Better Living Through Masonry

Everyone knows that Americans need to get outside and get active. Report after report shows that obesity and inactivity are making us sicker and shortening our lives. Despite all the studies and surveys, convincing us to shed our sedentary ways has proven to be a tough sell for health advocates. Masonry may be part of the solution, making the great outdoors a place where more of us want to be.

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Archive (Photos)

Masonry Anchors Live/Work/Play Environments

Our buildings reflect our society, and as technology and other trends blur the traditional lines between work and home, the spaces where we live, work and play mirror these changes. Masonry often performs a big role in these multi-use facilities, creating a sense of place and setting a tone for these buildings and the spaces within them.

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720 University Place, formerly known as Music Hall, was built in 1897.
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Age-Old Tuck-Pointing Technique Restores New Glory

With building restoration projects, you have few or no options other than to use existing materials to replicate an old building back to its former glory. But that is not always easy to do. Some buildings have major problems, from correcting structural issues to matching the aesthetic appeal of its original design. This work is not for the faint hearted because many times you won’t know what damage lies beneath the surface.

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Iredale Mineral Cosmetics International Headquarters
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Iredale Mineral Cosmetics International Headquarters

Our firm, Croxton Collaborative Architects (CCA), a founder of the modern sustainability movement, recently completed the 21,000-square-foot international headquarters for Iredale Mineral Cosmetics (IMC)—manufacturers of jane iredale—in Great Barrington, Mass. A replacement for the company’s smaller home base nearby, the new structure represents the rehabilitation of the abandoned 1889 William Cullen Bryant School building (and its early 1900s addition), a Massachusetts Cultural Resource, as a 21st century center of operations.

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Archive (Photos)

Onsite Masonry Production from Diverted Excavation

Watershed Materials is teaming up with Westlake Urban and Alpha Group to explore a solution to a problem that real estate developers often face—excavation that has to be moved off a construction site to make way for new buildings. Rather than haul off the excavation spoils and then import thousands of concrete masonry units (CMUs) for use at the project, the developers and Watershed Materials are working together to repurpose native excavation material right at the job site to create the structural masonry blocks used in the development. Truckloads of offhaul and truckloads of imported building materials could be eliminated by using the excavation to make the structural block, adaptively reusing waste to produce onsite building materials.

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New York Hospital Queens Astoria Primary Care Clinic
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New York Hospital Queens Astoria Primary Care Clinic

The design of most hospitals and other healthcare facilities often can look and feel cold or uninspired, but they don’t have to be. Amore inviting design can lead to a clinic that becomes part of a community rather than derided. Let’s face it: No one wants to go to the doctor, but when you need to, an aesthetically pleasing building (often referred to as patient-centered design) can improve outcomes.

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Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
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Faith In Masonry

The most visible landmark in the town of Shrewsbury, Mo., is the distinctive brick bell tower of the Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. A glimpse of it hints at the beauty of the masonry buildings on the Seminary campus. These structures look like they were transported to their hilltop location from a town in Tuscany.

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Greenbuild
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Climate Efforts To Impact Built Environment

Much attention has been given, and rightly so, to the recently completed negotiations in Paris that resulted in the unprecedented Paris agreement to combat climate change. This agreement, coupled with the Clean Power Plan recently proposed by the EPA will move building designers and scientists to elevate new and existing building performance in two distinct ways.

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Bolton Dining Commons
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A Fresh Equation for Campus Dining

Today’s college and university dining halls are far from the banal cafeterias of yesteryear, serving bland and unhealthy food on plastic trays in windowless spaces. Just as schools compete to attract students by providing the best academic offerings, the coziest dorms, or the winningest sports teams…

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