Texas Tech University - Experimental Science Building
2006 MCAA International Excellence in Masonry Award Winner
Brazos Masonry, Inc.
Architect: Contacts Without Company
The combination of an insightful Californian architect and the rugged West Texas plains helped shape and design a state of the art science facility. There are 110,000 eight inch CMU that form the shell of this facility. Each cell is filled with concrete and the rebar runs both vertically and horizontally. The once-seemingly excessive grout requirements were due, in part, to the findings of the university's highly acclaimed tornado protection research. This research rendered the widely accepted conclusion that CMU is the material of choice for protection from tornadic-wind-generated debris. The most challenging part of the block work was that there could be no control joints and all of the intersecting walls had to bond with each other. The exterior cladding was comprised of 450,000 custom-sized face brick, 11,200 pieces of cast stone and another 3,800 pieces of dimensioned Lueders limestone. Highly resilient Indiana limestone was used for the paver work.
As one views the structure, the fine distinct lines of the architectural appearance are immediately noticed. At the same time, the architect chose to implement 130 masonry arches in an arcade porch found on three elevations of the project. Those consisted of double wythe brick assemblies solidly filled with grout. All of the windows are surrounded, including the sill, with cast stone. At the top of each wall is an integral three-piece cast stone coping assembly. The anchoring system was one of applied science. Each stone was tied to the next, and the overall coping was tied to the structure. Masons also installed Lueders limestone completely around each entrance. These pieces were 1-1/4 inches thick and the tolerance for plumb was plus-or-minus zero. This did not just occur at an exterior clad wall, but was also used variously on the inside of the entire arcade.
As an end-result, the soft and straight lines evolved into an architectural masterpiece. Now looking at the overall structure, we see the modernism that shows. It is, at once, both a contemporary learning institution and the utilization of a traditional design standard which fits effortlessly into the rest of the campus. This was all achieved with the product of choice; MASONRY!!!