Award Winning Terrazzo in the Home of the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo

Contemporary Architecture that Blends Tradition with Innovation

Dickies Arena, the new home of the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo, incorporates 120,000 square feet of terrazzo enriched with aesthetic details that honor the city’s culture and history. David M. Schwarz Architects created the timelessly elegant design.

American Terrazzo Company of Garland, Texas, was awarded the National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association (NTMA) 2021 Job of the Year for the terrazzo installation in the Dickies Arena.

We spoke with architect Steven Horwitz, the project manager with David M. Schwarz Architects (DMSAS) of Washington, DC, about the installation and receiving the terrazzo industry’s highest honor.

Mr. Horwitz has been with DMSAS for 16 years. Both the firm and Mr. Horwitz have an extensive history with high-profile Fort Worth architecture, including Sundance Square, Bass Hall, National Cowgirl Museum, and Texas Rangers ballpark. It was on Dallas’ American Airlines Center that DMSAS first collaborated with American Terrazzo.

Beginning as a young architect hired a year out of college, Mr. Horwitz related that the firm’s guiding principle of paying close attention to each project’s minute details has marked him the most. During the last year of the arena’s construction, he made weekly trips to the job site, adding, “They call me ‘Mr. Fort Worth’ in the office.”

Checking and rechecking the alignment of the developing floor pattern to the rest of the design elements was one of his regular rounds. He credited American Terrazzo’s engagement and attention to detail during those site visits for “a hugely successful finished product.”

“Terrazzo is a cost-effective material that enabled DMSAS to create a beautifully artistic, durable, and low-maintenance flooring surface,” Mr. Horwitz said.

The Designers

Dickies Arena

About a dozen architects had a hand in designing the 560,000-square-foot arena, its adjoining 156,00-square-foot livestock support building, and 215,000-square-foot landscaped plaza, Mr. Horwitz said. David Schwarz, the 2015 Driehaus Prize Laureate, known for his mastery of traditional design in vibrant public spaces that bring people together, was “a big influence,” according to Mr. Horwitz, as was Gregory Hoss, President and principal in charge of the project. The architect of record on the arena was HKS of Dallas.

“Seeing Dickies Arena go from drawings on a computer screen to a successful monumental project was and continues to be extremely rewarding,” Mr. Horwitz declared. “I still have so much appreciation for all the effort it took from various partners to make this project a success.”

Through long and varied experience, DMSAS has developed a unique ability to create contemporary architecture that blends tradition with innovation, Mr. Horwitz observed. In Dickies Arena, the team has developed a remarkable design for a classically timeless floor.

The Creative Process

Early design meetings focused on selecting the perfect ten epoxy colors from over 100 samples. By refining the shades and chip density of the marble aggregate and determining the right epoxy matrix colors, they achieved the Art Deco-inspired designs that respond aptly to the walls, columns, and ceilings.

As is typical early in DMSAS’ design process, the architectural team collected iconography related to the building’s use, surroundings, and aesthetics. Southwest motifs—cowboys/cowgirls, lassos, spurs, belts, buckles, boots, grasses, and flowers—were incorporated into the design, from the terrazzo floor to the metal railing details and masonry bas-relief panels on the exterior.

Dickies Arena
Dickies Arena

Dickies ArenaMr. Horwitz commented that receiving the terrazzo Job of the Year designation was “a great honor to all who spent the time working on the design from day one to the final polish before the first event.” He applauded the tremendous effort and thanked American Terrazzo for bringing DMSAS’ vision to fruition.

“Walking through an event and seeing the amount of interaction around all the different spaces and hearing people comment on specific architectural details marks a true accomplishment,” Mr. Horwitz said.

The NTMA’s annual Honor Award program acknowledges outstanding terrazzo installations completed by its member contractors. Awards are based on the aesthetics of the installation in its design context, craftsmanship demonstrated, and scope. Selection is made by a group of industry peers and design professionals.

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