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Corporate Lobby Design Reflects San Diego Coast With Award-Winning Terrazzo Installation


lobby with a sedimentary wall and terrazzo staircase and floor.

AWARD-WINNING TERRAZZO and a sedimentary art wall were installed at Dircectors Place, a life-sciences complex near San Diego. Photo: Nathan Padilla Bowen

National award for T.B. Penick & Sons for Directors Place life-sciences complex.

The materials provided by T.B. Penick further enhance the design concept and help create a sense of place and culture, functioning as part of the building, but also as an integrated piece of art.”

— Holly Hersey, architectural designer, Delawie

SAN DIEGO, CA, USA, May 8, 2024 / — The architecture and interior design of the $123 million Directors Place in Sorrento Valley draw inspiration from the nearby Torrey Pine forests and sandstone canyons. Shared by research labs and offices, the new life-sciences complex features a contemporary lobby anchored by a striking handcrafted terrazzo installation. The award-winning project complements sedimentary wall art designed to simulate coastal cliffs, integrating natural elements into the interior.

T.B. Penick & Sons, Inc., of San Diego, the terrazzo contractor on the project, has received a 2024 Honor Award from the National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association (NTMA) for exceptional work on the installation. The award was presented on April 17 in Tucson at the association’s annual convention.

The lobby’s two-story sedimentary wall, echoing the cliffs of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park, is the space’s centerpiece. An understated terrazzo design was poured in place and formulated to represent a line in the sand—the transition between cliffs and the ocean.

Epoxy terrazzo with micro-blend aggregates, sediment flecks, and mirrored chips was poured in place to represent dry, untouched sand against the cliff. A darker micro-blend terrazzo flows into the elevator cabs, representing sand dampened by the ocean tides and serving as a landing point for a wood-clad soffit and columns reminiscent of a pier.

The contractor fabricated and installed the cantilevered monumental staircase in precast terrazzo. The elegant staircase was crafted to achieve the illusion of a single seamless piece.

In addition to the terrazzo installation, T.B. Penick also created the custom-designed sedimentary wall, which was formed of eight layers of poured-in-place concrete in various combinations of etch and color to evoke the striations of the cliffs. The contractor also installed exterior decorative concrete, which extends the design concept to the outdoors. Directors Place, designed by Delawie of San Diego, opened in September 2023.

TB Penick & Sons, Inc., was founded in 1905. The company installs terrazzo and concrete all over the world.

The NTMA’s annual Honor Award program recognizes outstanding terrazzo projects its members submit. The program promotes member contractors as the sole qualified resource for terrazzo installations that meet industry standards. Terrazzo veterans and design professionals evaluate the submitted entries.

The NTMA is a full-service nonprofit trade association headquartered in Fredericksburg, Texas. Founded in 1923, the NTMA establishes national standards for terrazzo systems for floor and vertical applications. Its mission is to promote quality craftsmanship and creativity in terrazzo while supporting its 152 members in their trade and service to the construction industry.

The NTMA provides free services to architects, interior designers, artists, general contractors, maintenance professionals, and property owners. From helping the design community write specifications to providing technical assistance, the NTMA’s goal is to help ensure quality terrazzo installations.

Terrazzo is a composite material. Originating in 15th-century Italy, descending from the mosaic artistry of Ancient Rome. Terrazzo evolved as a sustainable building system as resourceful Venetian marble workers discovered a creative way to reuse discarded stone chips. Terrazzo artisans still pour terrazzo by hand on the construction site, with options for precast and waterjet-cut elements. Stone, recycled glass, or other aggregates, often sourced locally, are embedded in a cement or epoxy base and polished to reveal the chips. Terrazzo combines design flexibility with ease of maintenance and durability to last the life of the building.

Jason Avila
TB Penick & Sons, Inc.
+1 858-558-1800
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National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association 2024 Honor Awards: Directors Place, T.B. Penick & Sons

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