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Functional Beauty: Terrazzo Makes a Sustainability Statement for Maryland High School

pinwheel tile design in terrazzo in common area.

GREEN SCHOOL Guilford Park’s terrazzo floor was recognized by the National Terrazzo & Mosaic Assocation’s annual Honor Awards program. Photos: Brycen Fischer Photography

Terrazzo design in the school hallways.

TERRAZZO design weaves at corridor intersection, symbolizing the blending of many cultures in the school.


National honor for Roman Mosaic & Tile Co. for the terrazzo installation, a case study of energy efficiency and cultural diversity.

Terrazzo offers many assets that are both fiscally and environmentally friendly. I think of it as a timeless finish: it will last longer than the rest of the building,”

— Robyn Toth, Principal/Owner, TCA Architects

JESSUP, MARYLAND, USA, May 8, 2024 / — Guilford Park High School in Jessup, Maryland, sets the standard for energy efficiency and conservation as a county Green School and LEED Silver-certified campus. The new school, accommodating 1,658 students, opened its doors in 2023. At 42 acres, it boasts the county’s largest campus. One of the school’s numerous energy-saving features is an award-winning terrazzo floor.

Roman Mosaic & Tile Company of Linthicum, Maryland, the project’s terrazzo contractor, was recognized with a 2024 National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association Honor Award for their exceptional work on the hand-crafted floor. The award was presented on April 17 in Tucson at the association’s annual convention.

The epoxy terrazzo design was poured in place in the school. Patterning in the main three-story common areas and corridors on all three stories is an updated interpretation of the classic pinwheel tile design, weaving together at intersections to represent the tapestry of cultures blended in the school population.

Functional and hardwearing, the 64,200-square-foot floor’s six-color design directs foot traffic. Introducing a different pattern for each lane of student traffic, the floor supports a harmonious and efficient traffic flow through the halls.

Robyn Toth of TCA Architects in Crownsville, Maryland, led the design of the new school, which is the fourth and largest adaptation of the district’s current design prototype. Ms. Toth specializes in the design of sustainable public K-12 educational facilities in Maryland. She has completed over 88 school projects and numerous feasibility and site acquisition studies across the state in the past 28 years.

Ms. Toth appreciates the creative designs that she and her team have been able to produce for Howard County schools. “I really like being able to incorporate school colors and wayfinding in a floor in a very subtle, soft, and sophisticated way that doesn’t overwhelm the space but enhances it, and in a way that would be difficult with other finishes with limited color options,” she explained.

Guilford Park was Maryland’s Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) first high school to specify terrazzo, and the decision depended heavily on energy efficiency, Ms. Toth noted. Terrazzo’s maintenance costs are significantly lower than those of less durable finishes, which means significant life-cycle cost benefits down the road with a school’s heavy foot-traffic, she said.

Facing rapid population growth, HCPSS aims to standardize its facilities and maintain fiscal responsibility. Decision makers conducted extensive analysis of flooring options, carefully considering the initial, long-term operations, and energy costs, which led to the selection of terrazzo.

“Terrazzo offers many assets that are both fiscally and environmentally friendly,” Ms. Toth explained. “I think of terrazzo as a timeless finish: it will last longer than the rest of the building,” said Ms. Toth.

Roman Mosaic & Tile Company was founded in 1902 by Angelo Trevisan and is now operated by the fourth generation of the Trevisan family. The company’s crews of artisans demonstrated exceptional craftsmanship and dedication to quality in their work at Guilford Park High School. The company has been a member of the NTMA since 1927.

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 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. Developed in 15th-century Italy, terrazzo descended from the mosaic artistry of Ancient Rome. It 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.

Norm Stumpf IV
Roman Mosaic & Tile Company
+1 410-789-5520
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National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association 2024 Honor Awards: Guilford Park High School, Roman Mosaic & Tile Co.