When the developers for a specialty shopping center in Florida met with the design/construct firm, one design concept had already been determined: the mall would feature an architectural style reminiscent of early nineteenth century Charleston and Savannah. Developers envisioned an exterior finish of the cut stone construction prevalent in parts of the Old South. Since an actual stone finish would have cost too much and prevented completion of the project on schedule, the design/construct team set out to create the look of granite blocks and did it with concrete. Load-bearing tilt-up panels for exterior walls were patterned to resemble 16- by 32-inch rusticated stone blocks.
Instead of using a standard liner, designers broke the pattern down into ten separate segments that could be reassembled to produce all of the variations needed. Once the center of the panel was defined and blockouts for doors and windows had been set, carpenters could drop the pieces into place as if assembling a jigsaw puzzle. This speeded up the forming process and eliminated field errors in producing the pattern.
To achieve the desired rough granite appearance, 3/8-inch-maximum size blue limestone aggregate was chosen. Lamp black added to the concrete produced a dark gray colored matrix that enhanced the look of granite. After being tilted up, panels were lightly sandblasted to remove the cement paste "skin" and improve uniformity of color and texture.