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Yellow Tunnel Vision: Award-Winning Terrazzo at University of California San Diego Student Center

TB Penick’s terrazzo installation at UCSD Price Student Center, centering on a vibrant corridor in the school’s signature color, has won a national award.

This award recognizes TB Penick & Sons’ skilled craftsmanship and commitment to excellence, which is evident in this beautiful terrazzo installation.”

— Chad Rakow, Executive Director, National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association

SAN DIEGO, USA, May 8, 2024 / — One of the largest student centers in the country, Price Center is the central hub for campus dining and services for the University of California’s San Diego campus. Over 30,000 daily visitors visit the student center, which underwent a significant interior and exterior renovation in 2023, including the installation of an award-winning new terrazzo floor.

TB Penick & Sons, Inc., of San Diego, was recognized by the National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association’s annual Honor Award program for the 7,200-square-foot terrazzo installation in five colors. The award was presented on April 17 in Tucson at the association’s annual convention. TB Penick has been in business since 1905, with locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.

This handcrafted epoxy terrazzo installation stands out for its bold use of color within a cohesive modern interior design, reported the NTMA’s judges. A pristine white elevates the elegance, while the vibrant, large-scale integration of the school’s signature color creates the intended iconic yellow tunnel effect, infusing a brilliant burst of energy in the quiet composition of neutral tones. Glass and marble aggregates were formulated to add depth and texture to the terrazzo, which was poured in place.

This renovation project prioritized the dining experience, capacity, and flow integration to the outdoor plaza through a 45-foot-long sliding door. A modern interior design aligns with the university’s architectural legacy, which includes numerous other durable, beautiful terrazzo floors. Reyes Architects oversaw the project, with Swinerton providing general contracting; both companies are located in San Diego.

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.

Jason Avila
TB Penick & Sons, Inc.
+1 619-954-1054
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National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association 2024 Honor Awards USCD Price Center / TB Penick & Sons