Ramapo College | Atrium Dining Hall Renovation

Photo courtesy of Ramapo College

Location: Mahwah, NJ
Project Type: Higher Education, Dining Hall
Product: Terra Hexagon – Rosso, Ocre, and Nero | 10″x8.5″
Quantity: 1280 Square Feet (SF)
Design Firm: Connor Architecture
Project Area: Dining Hall Floor

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Regional Public Universities in the North, Ramapo College educates 6,000 students and is located in the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains on the New Jersey/New York border. Ramapo offers undergraduate students concentrations in one of five schools with 539 course offerings and 39 academic programs.

Recently, Ramapo chose to renovate their residential dining area plus add an addition to the area for the ever-growing population on the campus. The addition was to include various new seating options along with a fireplace and an outdoor seating area.

Challenge | Aesthetic. Budget & Lead-Time, Oh My!
After specifying brick hexagon pavers for the Atrium Dining Hall floor, Connor Architecture learned that the product would no longer be an option due to an unexpected product lead time of 10 weeks. The dining hall renovation needed to be completed sooner, so a redesign was inevitable. Creative Materials was contacted and responded immediately to source a suitable alternate to the material.

The Design and Sourcing Department at Creative Materials regularly steps in to address issues such as these for clients. Due to a targeted,  commercial-only approach, the team has developed a deep expertise which it uses to help clients make effective business decisions from a range of suitable options.

Brick hexagon pavers were originally specified in the dining hall. When compared to a porcelain tile which could offer the same aesthetic, brick absorbs liquid, is not as easy to clean, may scratch or stain easily, and could be prone to fading. The brick would not have been able to accommodate a tight grout joint which aides in cleanliness. Wide grout joints tend to collect food and crumbs.

Although Creative Materials prefers to be brought in on the front end of a project to consult, the team never turns away a client facing a tough situation such as this. Creative Materials consulted with Connor Architecture and learned that it was critically important to maintain the existing aesthetic, keep material cost within existing budget, and deliver the material to the jobsite on time.

Solution | Porcelain Tile Saves The Day
Connor Architecture envisioned a socially vibrant space with a trendy play on both pattern and color. Utilizing a vast global network of tile manufacturing relationships, Creative Materials recommended and sourced a porcelain hexagon floor tile, locally stocked and available under budget. The colors and hexagon format upheld the design intent, while ensuring that Ramapo would not run into long-term maintenance issues.

Creative Materials’ Project Management and Logistics teams worked closely with the manufacturer and contractor to ensure timely ordering and delivery of the material so the project would be completed on time without delay.

Result | Exceeding Partner Expectations
Creative Materials takes a commercial-only approach and uniquely understands the needs of their clients. With knowledge and consulting, the result of a necessary redesign was a true success.

Key benefits included:

  • More durability and less required maintenance using porcelain tile over originally specified brick pavers
  • 35% overall cost savings over brick pavers
  • Ability to maintain the same design aesthetic

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