Profiles in Terrazzo: Barbara Palm

Profiles in Terrazzo: Barbara Palm

Profiles in Terrazzo

Barbara Palm

Barbara Palm
Director of Interiors
Anderson Mikos Architects, LTD

When Barbara Palm of Anderson Mikos Architects first encountered terrazzo some 20 years ago during a hospital renovation, she was not at all familiar with the product and found the prospect of working with it a little daunting. There was a lot to learn about the product, such as the finishing process, and many aspects—both aesthetically and practically—had to be considered. It was a lot to take in. But it’s fair to say Barbara Palm is now a convert. She often recommends using terrazzo for large, heavy foot traffic areas.

Through her experience designing interiors for a wide range of medical facilities, Palm has come to favor terrazzo because it is durable, impervious (and therefore antimicrobial), stain resistant, and easy and inexpensive to maintain. But mostly Palm appreciates terrazzo because of the versatility it offers in colors and patterns. Terrazzo “really lets you run with it for creativity,” said Palm. “Terrazzo lets you push the boundaries of flooring.”


Perhaps her favorite terrazzo project was the Operating Rooms and Main Lobby expansion project at Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Illinois, which represented the culmination of years of Anderson Mikos design concepts and projects for Rush Copley. She first introduced the hospital to terrazzo for its Emergency Department Entrance and Waiting Area, which was then carried through the public corridor to the rest of the facility. The recent new Main Entrance and Lobby have become the jewel of the hospital.

Barbara Palm would like to see more in the way of terrazzo tiles that might make it easier to work in smaller areas. While a few manufacturers create such tiles, the tiles tend to be limited in color and look and don’t have the sparkle that comes from such add-ins as mother of pearl or glass. The tiles also lack differential sizing that would provide more depth.


Palm believes the best creative results grow out of the designer and client collaborating as a team on the overall design. When it comes to that creativity, Palm suggests getting to know your terrazzo reps. They will give useful ideas about ways to use terrazzo to its best effect.

Terrazzo: The Geometry in Our Floors

Terrazzo: The Geometry in Our Floors

The Geometry in Our Floors

Geometry and shapes are all around us. Terrazzo provides the opportunity to mirror these shapes on the floor beneath our feet. By using lines and curves, a floor can guide us, inspire us, or pique our imagination. Take a look at “The Geometry in our Floors” as we showcase some of the possibilities of lines and curves.

Terrazzo: The Colors of Possibility

Devos Children's Hospital terrazzo colors

The Colors of Possibility

Terrazzo offers nearly limitless design possibilities. By customizing colors and aggregate combinations, spaces become one-of-a-kind. Whether you are looking for intricate multi-color designs, or seamless one-color designs, terrazzo offers it all. Take a look at “The Colors of Possibility” as we showcase all the colors of the rainbow.

Terrazzo Provides Renewal

Terrazzo Provides Renewal

Terrazzo Provides Renewal

Presence Resurrection Hospital Chapel, Chicago, IL

After a devastating fire in the Chapel at Presence Resurrection Hospital in December 2014, a full restoration was required. The chapel had provided over 60 years of solace and support. Its destruction was a loss for the whole community. But out of the fire came an opportunity for renewal. It was a chance to create a new environment to provide a comfort to visitors and meet their spiritual needs.

The terrazzo design was crafted to bring unity to the space. The design has elements used throughout the chapel. The stars inlayed around the font match the over 800 stars in the astral pattern on the ceiling. The color palette complements the statuary, furnishings, and original marble used in the reredos and throughout. The straight lines mirror the leadlines of the stained glass. Even the brass divider strips carry elements that augment the gold leafing and lend continuity to the design. This timeless design creates a sanctuary that will bolster the community for years to come.

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PROJECT NAME: Presence Resurrection Chapel
OWNER/CLIENT: Presence Health Network
ARCHITECT: Domenella Architects
PHOTOGRAPHY: Viken Djaferian, FotoGrafix

Terrazzo Provides Renewal

Best of NCTA 2018

Time-tested terrazzo techniques show breadth, beauty, and versatility.

Best of NCTA 2018

Breadth, Beauty, Versatility

Each year, the North Central Terrazzo Association gathers to discuss advances in technology, to refine industry techniques, and to build camaraderie across our association. We seek to make time-tested terrazzo techniques even better.

We also look back at the projects completed by our association members that show the breadth, beauty, and versatility of terrazzo flooring. Many of these projects are award-winning designs and installations, and they include hospitals, colleges, research centers, sports arenas, transportation hubs, and churches.

Join us as we celebrate some of the finest projects the contractors of the North Central Terrazzo Association have created.

Flowing Design, Welcoming Space

Warm tones and clean lines in the design create an inviting and comfortable environment.

Flowing Design, Welcoming Space

Rush Copley Hospital, Aurora, IL

When it was time for a significant expansion of the Rush Copley Hospital, they turned to terrazzo for a significant and distinct first impression. When you step through the main entrance, you immediately encounter the welcoming flooring design. The flowing lines and curves are in perfect harmony with the natural elements in the lobby. The terrazzo flows up the grand staircase providing continuity in the space. The color palette is classic and professional. The warm tones, along with the clean lines in the design, create an inviting and comfortable environment.

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PROJECT NAME: Rush Copley Surgery Expansion
OWNER/CLIENT: Rush Copley Medical Centers
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: Amici Terrazzo (Elk Grove Village, IL)
ARCHITECT: Anderson Mikos Architects, Ltd
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Leopardo Companies, Inc
PRECAST TREADS: Wausau Tile, Inc
PHOTOGRAPHY: Viken Djaferian, FotoGrafix

Flowing Design, Welcoming Space

Terrazzo: The Most Elegant Compass You’ll Ever See

terrazzo floor

Terrazzo: The Most Elegant Compass You’ll Ever See

Adventist Cancer Institute, Hinsdale, IL


When patients and visitors glance at the new terrazzo floor in the Adventist Cancer Institute in Hinsdale, Illinois, they may only notice the rich blue and green hues. But there’s much more to it than a striking design.

Earl Swensson Associates created the first floor’s colorful compass and ribbons for a practical purpose.

“The colors of the ribbons correspond with the colors of the points on the compass, which represent peace, hope, faith and love,” said Abby Weilmuenster, senior interior designer at ESa. “And while they’re decorative, they’re also way-finding (guides) for visitors and patients.”

Weilmuenster said the overall design was inspired by the Institute’s mission statement, which mentions a “compass of meaning” and “ribbons of hope.”

terrazzo floor

In turn, the ribbons flowing from the main lobby serve as guides for patients coming to the center for treatment. Terrazzo was installed in the first floor lobby and the precast treads on the monumental stairs.

“The classic, elegant look (is) something easy to maintain throughout the years,” Weilmuenster said. “It also provided a great opportunity for incorporating some of that branding into the building architecture by being able to incorporate the compass and ribbons.”

Poured in place terrazzo flooring on the first floor and precast terrazzo stair treads on the staircase were both appropriate because of durability and low maintenance.

terrazzo floor

PROJECT NAME: AMITA Health Cancer Institute & Outpatient Center
OWNER/CLIENT: AMITA Health Cancer Institute & Outpatient Center(Hinsdale, IL)
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: John Caretti & Co.(Morton Grove, IL)
(Chicago, IL)
ARCHITECT: Earl Swensson Associates, Inc.(Nashville, TN)
RESIN SUPPLIER: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies (Wheeling, IL)
CHIP SUPPLIER: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies (Wheeling, IL)
DIVIDER STRIP SUPPLIER: Manhattan American Terrazzo Strip Company (Staley, NC)
PRECAST SUPPLIER: Wausau Tile (Wausau, WI)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Viken Djaferian, FotoGrafix

Terrazzo Ties Together Hospital’s “Whimsical” Architecture

Terrazzo Ties Together Hospital’s “Whimsical” Architecture

How can terrazzo be installed in a busy hospital and complement its existing architectural design? Ask Kevin Rickman of Missouri Terrazzo.

Missouri Terrazzo’s major challenge on the Mercy Hospital project in St. Louis was to install at 3/8” epoxy terrazzo, in 6 colors, with multiple radius designs, in multiple phases while keeping a very busy hospital open and functioning. The 20,000-plus square-foot project was installed off and on for a three-year period.
Terrazzo Ties Together Hospital’s “Whimsical” Architecture
“Scheduling and phasing were a major part of this project,” Rickman said. “Protection was a key detail as we worked around offices, elevators, escalators, and other types of floor finishes.”

Four of the colors are mixed with a combination of size and various glass and marble aggregates. They’re separated by flowing 1/8” zinc strip that were shaped and set on site. Areas of terrazzo near the chapel had to be poured-in-place in unique shapes and designs.
Terrazzo Ties Together Hospital’s “Whimsical” Architecture
The stairs and stringers on a slight radius were installed along with a 12” high, 1” thick epoxy base throughout the project. Missouri Terrazzo had to be exact in its field templates in order to have 12 existing columns, which included precast caps, fit precisely.

Replacing an existing vinyl floor, terrazzo became the flooring finish of choice due to its longevity and ease of maintenance.

“The strip patterns and color changes flow throughout, encouraging the hospital’s visitor traffic flow and helping to tie together the varied whimsical architectural designs throughout the lobby area,” Rickman said. “The client was really excited about terrazzo and thought it was worth the effort of all involved to make this project a success.”
Terrazzo Ties Together Hospital’s “Whimsical” Architecture

PROJECT NAME: Mercy Hospital

OWNER/CLIENT: Mercy Hospital (St. Louis, MO)

TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: Missouri Terrazzo (St. Louis, MO)

ARCHITECT: Archimages (St. Louis, MO)


RESIN SUPPLIER: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies (Wheeling, IL)

AGGREGATE SUPPLIER: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies (Wheeling, IL)

DIVIDER STRIP SUPPLIER: Manhattan American Terrazzo Strip Co.

PRECAST BASE: Wausau Tile (Wausau, Wisconsin)

PHOTOGRAPHY: Bob Holt (St. Louis, MO)

Terrazzo Ignites Warm Atmosphere of Hospital

Terrazzo Ignites Warm Atmosphere of Hospital

Creating a sustainable, yet contemporary addition to an existing hospital requires impeccable design and diligence from architects. Skidmore Owings & Merrill Ohio LLC (SOM) rose to the challenge by enhancing Christ Hospital with a modern Joint and Spine Center that emphasizes wellness.

The 381,000-square-foot addition includes a new main entrance and concourse for the hospital; 87 patient rooms; 12 operating room; and education, outpatient, and support spaces. SOM created a warm and highly functional space, while providing a hospitable approach to the design.

Terrazzo Ignites Warm Atmosphere of Hospital

“The new patient rooms have expansive views of the city and surrounding landscapes. They are designed with the patient’s perspective in mind,” Arthur Cantwell III, associate at SOM, said. “All spaces have access to daylight and nature.”

To continue the light and airy quality of nature on the flooring, SOM’s monolithic design called for terrazzo in the public spaces. “There is no pattern other than the zinc strips that correspond with the structural grid,” Cantwell said. “We put the focus on developing a complex formula of stones, stone sizes, and recycled glass to create a visual depth. We were able to achieve the appearance of Venetian terrazzo with epoxy terrazzo.”

Because Christ Hospital wanted visitors to experience a warm environment at the Joint and Spine Center, a rift cut oak was chosen as the wood species for the addition. The color and character of the terrazzo was chosen to enhance the quality of the wood and the space as a whole.

“Both materials work together in harmony. The floor serves to enhance the continuity of the public space.” Cantwell said. “The terrazzo has a beautiful natural character while being a man-made product. It is timeless.”

Terrazzo Ignites Warm Atmosphere of Hospital

PROJECT NAME: Joint and Spine Center, The Christ Hospital (Cincinnati, OH)

CLIENT: The Christ Hospital (Cincinnati, OH)

TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: Martina Brothers (Lexington, KY)

ARCHITECT: Skidmore Owings & Merrill Ohio LLC (Chicago, IL)

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Messer (Cincinnati, OH)

TERRAZZO MATERIAL SUPPLIERS: (Epoxy, Chips) Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies (Wheeling, IL)

DIVIDER STRIP SUPPLIERS: National Metal Shapes, Inc. (Delaware, OH)

PHOTOGRAPHY: Viken  Djaferian (Wausau, WI)