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The masonry trade is physically demanding and often dangerous. New product innovation and the adoption of engineered products and processes relieve many physical demands of the trade. However, the masonry industry cannot bear the risks of change alone. Safety professionals, architects/designers and the workers compensation insurance industry must lead the effort by specifying “inherently safe” products.
As recently as 15 years ago, masons just wanted to make mortar the way they had for the last 100 years. In the last 5 years, however, they have become eager to have companies create performance mortars using admixtures that are approved by the different building codes. Contractors are looking for performance mortars – or architectural mortars – and it’s been easy for manufacturers to keep developing new products when they know there is a market looking for them.
What does alphabet soup have to do with Cast Stone? A major initiative of the Cast Stone Institute (CSI) is to interact with peers to affect mutual benefit for the concrete products industry. Two initiatives – implementation of a refined plant certification program and a change of executive directors a few years ago – brought to light the need to reach out and broaden our horizons. Credibility and accountability became more than buzzwords as we put teeth into the requirements for membership.
In today’s energy-conscious economy, owners of aging and historic buildings grapple with the costs of sustainability and rehabilitation versus new construction. Owners must address the financial and energy ramifications of demolition, evaluating longevity and the building lifecycle, and the social, political, or architectural significance of their buildings.
Housed in a historic, former Carnegie library, in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Baltimore, the Baltimore Clayworks is a non-profit (501c3) ceramic arts center founded in 1978 by artists who sought to establish a hub for anyone wishing to learn about or experience the fine art of clay. The group’s primary mission is to “develop, sustain and promote an artist-centered community that provides outstanding educational, artistic and collaborative programs in the ceramic arts.” In 2000, a secondary mission was to renovate (and bring up to code) the aging building, while maintaining as much of its original design and materials as possible, and doing so with the Clayworks kilns still firing.
The University of Georgia’s (UGA) campus in Athens, Ga., is widely regarded as one of the most picturesque in the nation, with its tree-lined walkways; ample green space; and historic, diverse architecture. The best examples of this entire splendor can be seen in the area known as North Campus, which is the property where the university’s first buildings were constructed. The school, chartered in 1785, takes very good care of its grounds and infrastructure, always with an eye toward historic preservation and architectural significance. In fact, in 2006 the university celebrated the bicentennial of the opening of its first building, Old College, for which it had spent the previous two years renovating. This is the story of that renovation.
A concrete idea is considered a reliable thought just as the phrase “cast in concrete” is an expression denoting permanency. The material from which these expressions are derived and that is used to build your reputation can only live up to its quotable status if its mix design contains an elusive element of the human moral code … conscience
With moisture-related problems in both new construction and older buildings equally prevalent in the news, there is no doubt that air and vapor barriers should be a well used and understood tool in a designer’s bag of tricks. However, depending on a number of factors – such as the climate of the given location, the building materials used in the project, building codes, and other key design issues – the type of barrier and the appropriate location within the system’s structure vary greatly.
Americans have used clay brick pavers on pedestrian pathways and roadways since early Colonial days, because genuine clay pavers add stature, character and long-term appeal. Can you imagine what Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria, Va., and Boston’s Beacon Hill would look like now, had the sidewalks been paved (or repaved) in a material other than genuine clay pavers?
Natural stone is a timeless material that has been used for centuries in structures of all types. In one of the fastest growing segments of the masonry products market, adhered stone veneers have become increasingly popular during the past decade in both commercial and residential construction.
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