2014 Innovation (New Construction) Winner

The Denver Art Museum includes 1200 square feet of polished concrete containing a special blend of concrete and rocks. The client chose the specialty mix design based on viewing previous work done by polishing contractor Colorado Hardscapes at the nearby Clyfford Still Museum. So Colorado Hardscapes matched the mix—a difficult task because the quarry pit was washed away in September 2013 by devastating floods.

It took three crews to install 76 steps, two landings, and 1200 square feet of interior and exterior floors. One crew poured and formed all of the steps offsite. Another crew poured the interior floors. And yet another crew polished the steps and flooring, working two shifts a day to complete the work on time.

The concrete steps were challenging to install and polish for several reasons. First, to meet building codes, every step needed to be uniform in size. Next, they include a six-sided design measuring 4 feet x 18 inches and 10 feet x 18 inches, so each step required polishing on all six sides. There were also six different conditions (i.e., embed plates for railing posts, cables, etc. and precast tread positioning.) for the steps that required special organization to help with the onsite installation. Special templates were implemented to assure all steps laid flat while polishing.