Article No: 294

2011-05-10 09:25:04
Grand Design

When the owners of the Baron residence in Dallas wanted to add staff quarters to their estate built in the 1990s, they wanted the addition and its decorative precast design to match the main house in every detail. The concrete design work won a 2010 Architectural Precast Association Award for Design & Manufacturing Excellence Competition in the residential category.

In architectural descriptions and guidebooks of stately homes, staff quarters are frequently overlooked. Thats not the case here. In addition to being a beautiful addition to the gardens of the estate, the building provides well-apportioned domestic offices and luxurious staff accommodations.

According to Luke Ragsdale of Dallas Cast Stone, the company that did the stone work on both houses, the staff quarters design elements consisted of a large cast stone base, load bearing Corinthian columns, entablature, window and dormer surrounds, belt, cornice, and chimney caps.

Ragsdale said some noteworthy challenges of the project were the second story fluted band, the solid columns with Corinthian caps and pediment stone.

Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York City designed the main house in the 1990s, as well as the new staff quarters. Dallas Cast Stone manufactured the cast stone on the original house in the 1990s and was able to use the same mix design for the staff quarters 10 years later.

Readers familiar with the architectural periods postmodern or modern traditionalist, will be familiar with the work of the 71-year-old acclaimed American architect, educator and author Robert Arthur Morton Stern, usually credited as Robert A. M. Stern. Stern is dean of the Yale University School of Architecture, and in 1984-1988 was the the first director of Columbias Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture.

Robert A.M. Stern Architects is designing the George W. Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University. In addition they have projects underway in 24 states and 10 foreign countries.

This job in its entirety is highly customized, Ragsdale said of the Baron residence staff quarters. A challenge to the project were thoseload bearing columns with Robert A.M. Stern Architects unique capitals.

In architecture, a capital is the crowning member of a column or other vertical form, providing a structural support and transition for the entablature, the upper horizontal member or arch in the upper section of a classical building that rests on the columns and constituting the architrave, frieze and cornice.

In classical styles, the capital is the architectural member that most readily identifies the order " any of several styles of classical architecture characterized by the type of column and entablature used. Of the five generally accepted classical orders, the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders are Greek, and the Tuscan and Composite orders are Roman.

The capitals are unique in the sense that they are a mixture of the classical order of architectural columns, Ragsdale said. The capitals are an exclusive Robert A.M. Stern design. In the modeling process of the capitals,it took six months to get the acanthus leaves approvedby the architect.

Dallas Cast Stone ( is a custom manufacturer and has been producing cast stone since 1922.We are always looking for an opportunity to do unique work that has been designed and rendered by an architect.