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.

Terrazzo: Your imagination is the only limit on the table

Grand Victoria Casino's main floor pattern

Terrazzo: Your imagination is the only limit on the table

Grand Victoria Casino, Elgin, IL

At the Grand Victoria Casino, the bold colors and striking terrazzo patterns make the floor buzz with energy. The eye-catching design was installed to replace the existing slate tile floor as part of a $4 million, 20th anniversary renovation.

Covering 10,000 square feet, this nine-color design brings the feeling of limitless possibility to Northern Illinois. The terrazzo pattern works with the overall contemporary interior design, complementing the updated fixtures, fresh colors on the walls, and even the sleek gold lines on the gaming tables.

The Grand Victoria Casino never closes. The installation had to be flexible to accommodate the business operations and minimize impact to the customer experience. The crew was able to complete full construction of this intricate pattern while the building was open 24/7.

Bright lights, vibrant colors, the rushing clatter of a payout, and terrazzo make this casino a place to play, dine, and be entertained.

Click to view larger.

PROJECT NAME: Grand Victoria Casino Concourse Renovation
OWNER/CLIENT: Grand Victoria Casino (Elgin, IL)
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: John Caretti & Co (Morton Grove, IL)
ARCHITECT: Thalden Emery Architects, LLC. (St. Louis, MO)
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Pepper Construction LLC. (Chicago, IL)
DIVIDER STRIP SUPPLIER: Manhattan American Terrazzo Strip Co.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Viken Djaferian, FotoGrafix

main level of Grand Victoria Casino terrazzo with clock and escalators

Free Form Designs Meld Research and Patient Care

Free Form Designs Meld Research and Patient Care

Free Form Designs Meld Research and Patient Care

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Chicago, IL

Terrazzo gives the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab an energetic flow, with free-form designs and bright colors. Patients, family, and caregivers walk into an uplifting and lively space.

It’s a place to get things done, discover, innovate, and heal.

The terrazzo construction is not limited to floor design in a single room. This three-floor, four-color installation defines the space throughout:

  • Some 36,000 square feet of flooring
  • 2,150 linear feet of wall base
  • 10 foot high wall installations

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is Chicago’s first-ever translational research hospital, focused on both research in rehabilitation treatments and patient care. The facility design needed a functional flow to allow researchers and patients to occupy the same space and work together.

Free Form Designs Meld Research and Patient Care

The versatility of terrazzo provided continuity of color and fluid lines to tie the space together. The design works to blend the work areas, common areas, and patient care areas in a way that fosters communication and promotes a shared presence.

The unified design and flowing patterns cultivates ideas, collaboration, and communication spanning the:

  • 1st Floor Lobby
  • Corridors
  • Elevator Lobbies
  • 10th Floor Sky Lobby
  • Servery
  • Dining Area
Free Form Designs Meld Research and Patient Care

PROJECT NAME: Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
OWNER/CLIENT: Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC)
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: John Caretti & Co (Morton Grove, IL)
ARCHITECT: Clive Wilkenson Architects (Culver City, CA)
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Power Construction (Chicago, IL)
TERRAZZO MATERIAL SUPPLIER: Terrazzo & Marble Supply (Wheeling, IL)
DIVIDER STRIP SUPPLIER: Manhattan American Terrazzo Strip Co. (Staley, NC)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Viken Djaferian, FotoGrafix

Free Form Designs Meld Research and Patient Care

Artistry Reflecting Research

Artistry Reflecting Research

Artistry Reflecting Research

Northwestern Technological Institute, Evanston, IL

Buildings and interiors tell stories. Each organization, its history, and its purpose are reflected in the design.

Terrazzo lets you use color, material accents, and custom art to illustrate the tale, complementing the furnishings and lighting while bringing continuity and character to the story.

The terrazzo design for Northwestern Technological Institute J Wing Infill included six colors and featured an original artist’s design from metal strip using a waterjet process. These designs were developed to reflect the ongoing research in the building’s labs.

The J Wing is an addition to the original 1942 building. The designers used terrazzo to keep continuity with the existing structure in both material and style. This project spanned 4,200 square feet over four floors, which included flooring in the vestibules, hallways, and a three-story atrium.

The color and flowing pattern brings the natural feel of the atrium into the rest of the space.

Artistry Reflecting Research

PROJECT NAME: Northwestern Technical Institute J Wing
OWNER/CLIENT: Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: John Caretti & Co (Morton Grove, IL)
ARCHITECT: Flad Architects (Madison, WI)
TERRAZZO DESIGNER: Ambriz Graphic Design (Chicago, IL)
TERRAZZO MATERIAL SUPPLIER: Terrazzo & Marble Supply (Wheeling, IL)
DIVIDER STRIP SUPPLIER: Manhattan American Terrazzo Strip Co. (Staley, NC)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Viken Djaferian, FotoGrafix

Artistry Reflecting Research

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

W.C. Reavis Elementary Hits High Note with Terrazzo

Terrazzo W.C. Reavis

Historically, one-room schoolhouses let children know the school day was about to begin with the ringing of a bell atop the building. When renovating W.C. Reavis Elementary School, the Lansing School District asked JMA Architects to pay homage to this tradition in its designs for the building’s additions.

Completed in two phases, the renovations included a new main entry, principal’s office, classrooms, conference rooms, library, gym, restrooms, and a teacher’s planning room. Updates were made to current office spaces, the art room, classrooms, and the school’s cafeteria.

The entryway includes a modernized bell tower with a custom light fixture. To continue this bell design on the floor, JMA Architects created a custom terrazzo design using the school’s color scheme of reds, greys, and whites.

terrazzo reavis hallway

“The design is reflective of the light fixture acting as a bell clanger,” Gail Barenie, JMA Architects, said. “The sound waves of the bell are continued in the pattern, traveling from that main entrance down the corridor.”

The arc pattern is carried throughout the school, with gypsum circle light fixtures and perforated panels at classroom doorways.

“We tried to use the circle everywhere we could from small scale to the large scale to bring the design to the entire school,” Barenie said.

Terrazzo wasn’t only chosen because of its ability to continue the arc design on the floor though. The school district requested terrazzo be used in the entryway and corridors due to is durability and maintenance ease.

“The district prefers terrazzo,” Barenie said. “They would like to use it in all their schools.”

W.C. Reavis Elementary Hits High Note with Terrazzo

PROJECT: W. C. Reavis Elementary School (Lansing, IL)
CLIENT: Lansing School District #158
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: John Caretti & Co. (Morton Grove, IL)
ARCHITECT: JMA Architects (South Holland, IL)
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: JMA Architects (South Holland, IL)
TERRAZZO MATERIAL(S) SUPPLIER: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Co. (Wheeling, IL)
DIVIDER STRIPS SUPPLIER: Manhattan American Terrazzo Strip Co. (Staley, NC)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Viken Djaferian (Wausau, WI)

Terrazzo Reflects School’s Bright Mission

ASPIRA Entryway terrazzo

The architects at MoDE Architects already had many colors in mind at the very beginning of the project to build the new ASPIRA of Illinois Business and Finance High School. After spending a short time in the John Caretti showroom, all seven colors and the aggregates were chosen quickly. The school, located in the Logan Square neighborhood in Chicago, wanted a building that reflected its concepts of awareness, analysis, and action. And MoDE succeeded, creating an atmosphere of achievement and learning.
ASPIRA terrazzo

Since 1961, ASPIRA has been working to provide Hispanic and Puerto Rican students with programs that encourage and inspire them to stay in school to prepare them to succeed academically, develop leadership skills, and serve their communities.

John Caretti installed 1,995 square feet of terrazzo in the corridors, entryway, and throughout the school. And the seven different colors—in shades of black, grey, white, yellow, green, and blue — were used to capture the spirit of ASPIRA’s mission.

Julie Bradford, project manager with John Caretti, said the installation went smoothly. According to Bradford, the one small challenge—hand bending all the radii out in the field, didn’t present much of a challenge to the terrazzo installers.

“Even with the hand bending in mind, my foreman mechanic did a great job transferring the architect’s design from paper into the actual installation,” she said.
ASPIRA terrazzo hallway

PROJECT: ASPIRA of Illinois Business & Finance High School (Chicago, IL)

CLIENT: ASPIRA of Illinois

TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: John Caretti & Co. (Morton Grove, IL)

ARCHITECT: MoDE Architects (Chicago, IL)

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: F.H. Paschen (Chicago, IL)

Epoxy: General Polymers (Cincinnati, OH)
Aggregates: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Co. (Wheeling, IL)

DIVIDER STRIPS SUPPLIER: Manhattan American Terrazzo Strip Co. (Staley, NC)

PHOTOGRAPHY: Viken Djaferian (Wausau, WI)

Terrazzo Creates Perfect Chemistry Between Science and Art

Silverman Hall
More often than not, science and art are seen as opposite sides of the spectrum. Logic versus creativity. Reality versus imagination. Right brain versus left brain.

But if you take a look at the remarkable terrazzo floors in the Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall for Molecular Therapeutics and Diagnostics, you will find that one without the other is impossible. The terrazzo teaches you that science is beautiful and artwork is one of the grandest experiments in the world.

Soon after John Caretti & Co. was awarded the terrazzo project for a new science and medicine research facility at Northwestern University, the school received a donation from Dr. Richard Silverman, a chemistry professor at the college. This donation was made possible by royalties received from Lyrica, an innovative therapy drug developed by Silverman for neuropathic diseases.

Silverman Hall Terrazzo Molecule

The decision was then made to add metalwork to the terrazzo that showed the significance of science. Among the shades of green and cream terrazzo lay intricately detailed inlays of the periodic table, single strands of the helix shape, elements and molecules, and the chemical molecule makeup of Lyrica, the drug that helped to fund the research facility. These designs not only reflect the areas and research of the university, but serve as linking elements throughout the building.

“Silverman Hall is designed to enhance interactions and collaborations among colleagues,” Anita Ambriz of Ambriz Graphic Design, the environmental graphic design firm for the project, said.

Silverman Hall terrazzo periodic table

According to Ambriz, the terrazzo was chosen for its beauty, design flexibility, low maintenance, durability, and its compliance with the university’s green technology requirement. As a sustainable flooring option, terrazzo contributed to Silverman Hall’s Silver LEED certification.

“We adjusted the aggregates within a limited palette to create subtlety in the imagery,” Ambriz said. “No other flooring material seemed to offer this possibility

PROJECT NAME: The Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall for Molecular Therapeutics and Diagnostics
CLIENT: Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: John Caretti & Co. (Morton Grove, IL)
ARCHITECT: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP (Los Angeles, CA)
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Turner Construction Company (Chicago, IL)
TERRAZZO MATERIAL SUPPLIER: (Epoxy, Chips) Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies (Wheeling, IL)
DIVIDER CHIP SUPPLIER: Manhattan American Terrazzo Strip Company (Staley, NC)
PRECAST WORK: Wausau Tile (Wausau, WI)
GRAPHIC DESIGN CONSULTANT: Ambriz Graphic Design (Chicago, IL)
PHOTOGRAPHY: John Caretti & Co. (Morton Grove, IL) and Mark Ballogg (Chicago, IL)

Early Education

Early Education Hard Facts terrazzo

Children and their education are our future. The schools they attend must provide them with safety, support, and inspiration. This means longevity, durability, and sustainability are necessary components of the building’s design. Terrazzo flooring is ideal for this.

The inclusion of school logos, mascots, and colors in terrazzo flooring adds charm and excitement and rouses school spirit among students, faculty, and staff. As no two terrazzo floors are the same, schools know their floors display spirit and pride in a uniquely beautiful way.

Because of the thousands of feet that will pass over the floors, schools need to be certain the flooring will deliver the longevity and sustainability they need, all with minimal maintenance costs. As the wear on terrazzo is excellent and it is among the easiest flooring options to maintain, it provides schools with a hassle-free foundation.

In early education, the key is to inspire, energize, and intrigue students throughout the school day. The vibrancy and flexibility of terrazzo designs help to promote active thinking and learning in young minds.

Today, we not only think about educating children, but also how to keep them as healthy as possible. We often worry about the spreading of germs, especially in schools. Epoxy terrazzo is anti-microbial in many ways, as it doesn’t allow for the growth of bacteria or mold. This makes it perfect for education facilities around the country.

In this edition of Hard Facts, we take a look at some examples of how design and sustainability combine to create some truly inspiring schools.

Crossroads Elementary Hard Facts terrazzo
Crossroads Elementary School, KY

At Crossroads Elementary, the design was simple – color everywhere. From the paint on the walls to the terrazzo throughout the school, twelve different bright and bold colors promote active thinking and learning.

“The ease of using colors to make for very distinctive floors that is particular to the school is very appealing,” Anna Tatman of Rosa Mosaic Tile & Terrazzo said.

The colors used on the walls and on the floor of Crossroads not only serve as learning tools, but as directional markers as well. Each grade was assigned a color for the columns and walls at the entrance to its wing. The flexibility of terrazzo allowed for the color to be continued on the floors, leading children to their appropriate classrooms.

“They’ve created an energetic learning environment. Colors tend to make our brains active and they instill in us various reactions,” Tatman said. “They were able to use these colors to create a very active learning space. It’s a wonderfully exciting, bright, and active space.”

PROJECT: Crossroads Elementary School (Mount Washington, KY)
CLIENT: Bullitt County Public Schools
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: Rosa Mosaic & Tile Company (Louisville, KY)
ARCHITECT/DESIGNER: Clotfelter/Samokar, PSC (Lexington, KY)
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: F.W. Owens Co. Inc (Louisville, KY)
TERRAZZO MATERIAL(S) SUPPLIER: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies (Wheeling, IL)
DIVIDER STRIPS SUPPLIER: Manhattan American Terrazzo Strip Company (Staley, NC)

PHOTOGRAPHY: David Laudadio

Paducah Middle School Hard Facts terrazzo

Paducah Middle School, KY

Completed in 2013, Paducah Middle School is a brand new facility for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in the Paducah Public Schools system. Kevin Rickman of Missouri Terrazzo said terrazzo was chosen for the hallways, lobby, and cafeteria of the new construction because of its durability and longevity.

At the entrance to the building is the school’s logo, a 24-foot blue Fighting Tornado. Consisting of nine colors, the logo depicts a Fighting Tornado armed with a book and pencil, ready to learn. The logo also features a compass, with a degree marker pointed towards Paducah Tilghan High School to remind the children of success and moving forward. Above the logo, the words “academic excellence” are surrounded by yellow stars.

“That’s to remind the students to reach for the stars with all their academic and personal lives,” Rickman said. “They really put a lot of thought into the design pattern to remind the kids to go above and beyond.”

The hallways on both the first and second floors feature a white epoxy with an accenting radius border of blue epoxy.  Within the white epoxy are 120 1 ft. high blue epoxy Fighting Tornadoes, promoting school spirit throughout the building.

PROJECT: Paducah Middle School (Paducah, KY)
CLIENT: Paducah Public Schools
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: Missouri Terrazzo (St. Louis, MO)
ARCHITECT: RBS Design Group Architecture (Owensboro, KY)
TERRAZZO MATERIAL SUPPLIER: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies (Wheeling, IL)
DIVIDER STRIP SUPPLIER: Manhattan American Terrazzo Strip Company (Staley, NC)
PHOTOGRAPHY: David Laudadio

West Ridge Hard Facts terrazzo
West Ridge Elementary School, IL

West Ridge Elementary is home to some truly inspiring terrazzo flooring, earning an NTMA honor award as well as LEED Silver certification. Each floor is a creative exploration of various educational themes that begin with the letter “p”, from the full number Pi embedded along one hallway to the planets in the solar system to a hall that has a chronological listing of the presidents.

“The artisans who were installing the terrazzo were so excited about their floors,” Mindy Viamontes, project manager/project architect with Muller & Muller, said. “They were so eager to uncover their work and show it off.”

In addition to the colors and the shapes, the floor design is something teachers can use in lessons. The planets are not labeled so students can identify them. The presidents hallways includes names and dates, but doesn’t include any additional information about their terms. Because the school was completed in 2010, the hallway is up-to-date and includes current president and Chicagoan, Barack Obama.

PROJECT: West Ridge Elementary School (Chicago, IL)
CLIENT: Public Building Commission (PBC) of Chicago for the Chicago Public Schools
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: John Caretti & Co. (Bensenville, IL)
ARCHITECT: Muller & Muller (Chicago, IL)
TERRAZZO MATERIAL SUPPLIER: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies (Wheeling, IL)
DIVIDER STRIP SUPPLIER: National Metal Shapes (Delaware, OH)


Terrazzo Breathes Life into New Chicago Children’s Hospital

Lurie Children's Hospital


Terrazzo has many remarkable qualities, but therapeutic is not usually at the top of the list. That might change, thanks to terrazzo’s soothing presence throughout the new Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

On the 11th floor of the 23-story, $855 million hospital, there’s a space where young patients can roam, explore, and connect with nature. Dubbed the Crown Sky Garden, it features live bamboo trees, benches crafted from locally harvested logs, fountains, and the soothing sounds of flowing water. It’s an immersive natural environment that can’t be found inside traditional hospitals.

Guiding children and their parents through the garden is vibrant, flowing terrazzo. Playful arcs of color lead them from the planters of bamboo and past the interactive benches to the southern portion of the garden, where gorgeous views of the Chicago skyline can be soaked up through 45-foot-tall bay windows.“Terrazzo is nice because of the range of material you can use in it,” said Ryan Shubin, project manager for Mikyoung Kim, the interior designer of the Crown Sky Garden. “We could add special granular elements to bring extra life to the garden, and we could also play it down when we wanted to allow the garden to shine.”Shubin also noted that terrazzo allows for dynamic curves and shapes, and it’s still remarkably easy to maintain.The Crown Sky Garden was completed in early June of this year. It has received high praise from designers and medical professionals alike for its union of fun and function. The goal was to create a place where patients can still benefit from the healing effects of nature when going outside is not possible. With the help of lively, sustainable terrazzo, that goal will be fulfilled for generations of children to come.

CLIENT: Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
PROJECT: Crown Sky Garden and Various Floors
DESIGNER: Mikyoung Kim
ARCHITECTS: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF), Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), Anderson Mikos Architects (AMA)
TERRAZZO MATERIALS: Terrazzo and Marble Supply
METAL STRIPS & INLAYS: Manhattan American Terrazzo Strip Company

To view more terrazzo samples, visit the NCTA’s Design Gallery, or view the Terrazzo Color Palette. You can learn more about the NCTA here.