Profiles in Earth-Friendly Creativity

Terrazzo Projects That Took Green the Extra Mile

From its origins, terrazzo is a natural for recycling. In 15th-century Venice, marble workers saw value in the odd marble remnants from the production of slabs; they brought them home for use in improving their garden terraces. Terrazzo is a sure bet to shrink a construction project’s environmental footprint, a permanent, low-maintenance, and VOC-free surface. The creative development of terrazzo as a green construction material continues today, as demonstrated by these exceptional projects completed by National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association member contractors.


The Real Thing

The terrazzo floor in the Coca-Cola Bottling Facility in Baton Rouge, LA, incorporates glass aggregates from crushed Coke bottles. The facility was the first Coke bottler and the first manufacturing facility in Louisiana to achieve LEED status. The bottles were just one of many recycled materials used in the construction of the new building, which also implemented energy conservation initiatives and included an onsite recycling center.


Back to Nature

The client required the use of recycled and/or regional material where possible for the construction of a new terrazzo floor in Chicago’s Franklin Park Community Center. The team took it one step further to reduce job material wastes, as the park district requested the terrazzo contractor to order aggregates in five-pound increments and its epoxies one gallon at a time instead of the typical 50-pound and five-gallon loads. At the end of the project, rather than disposing of left-over mixed aggregate, the park district distributed the natural materials in flower beds and paths in a local park.


In Situ Recycling

A remodel of the St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Seattle brought a new central altar and dais. Portions of the existing sand-cushion terrazzo were saw-cut and in-filled with epoxy/sand mortar and epoxy terrazzo mixes accented by marble elements saved from demolition in the church. The new baptismal font is also entirely constructed from marble recycled from waste. Its vertical fascia is precast terrazzo, incorporating sections of pink marble from the stiles of the old railing. This project won a terrazzo Honor Award in 2003-04.


Rescued from the Landfill

Specifying 100-percent recycled aggregates was essential for the design team on the terrazzo installation in the Statewide Library Archives Museum in Juneau, AK. A selection of concrete chips in sizes zero, one, and two provided just the right warm, earthy tones and texture for the centerpiece of the 10,000-square-foot installation: a highly detailed and accurately scaled state map in the lobby. The project netted a terrazzo Honor Award in 2017.

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