Part 1:
Decorative Concrete Council Names Winners of 2020 Awards Competition

Large bridge restoration project

The Decorative Concrete Council, a specialty council of the American Society of Concrete Contractors in St. Louis, Missouri, has named the winners of its 12th annual Decorative Concrete Awards competition. ASCC recognized the 2020 Decorative Concrete Awards winners at a virtual ceremony as part of its annual conference Sept. 24, 2020.

Superior Gunite of Jersey City, New Jersey, won the best overall project WOW! Award for Brattleboro Bridge in Vermont. “The challenge was not only to place concrete on the fins, but to seamlessly match the sculpted rock forms,” says Frank Townsend of Superior Gunite.

The use of shotcrete allowed access for placement as well as the ability to carve the wet concrete to match the look of the previous precast panels. Each fin is approximately 28-feet high. They expanded in width from 8 feet to 24 feet at the top, for a total of 390 square feet.

Winners of the 2020 Decorative Concrete Awards in the first 10 categories are as follows. Most, but not each division, had a first- and second-place winner:

Cast-In-Place Stamped, Over 5,000 Square Feet

First Place, Harrington Bomanite, Marshfield, Massachusetts, for Canobie Lake Park – Castaway Island
Castaway Island - 2020 Decorative Concrete Award winner Castaway Island was a 2020 Decorative Concrete Award winner

Harrington Bomanite has been involved with renovations at New England’s Canobie Lake Park for the past 30 years. Its most recent endeavor, the Tidal River project, added 45,000 square feet to the 100-year-old park’s Castaway island. The overall renovation included multiple stamped concrete patterns, color hardener and colored release agents on the decking, plaza, restrooms and water areas.

The most challenging aspect involved achieving a drainage system that satisfied environmental concerns while maintaining aesthetics. In the end, 12-inch-wide serpentine drains flanked an 8-foot-wide “meandering brook.” Made from stamped concrete and colored with an aqua blue color hardener, the brook bubbled with real-life looks. The installation not only challenged the team’s placing, coloring and stamping expertise but also its forming abilities.

Second Place, Urban Landscapes, Doha, Qatar for Kidzania

Cast-In-Place Stamped, Under 5,000 Square Feet

First Place, Alchemy Concrete, Nelsonville, Wisconsin, for Weslaski: Legacy at the Lake
Weslaski: Legacy at the Lake - Stamped Concrete 2020 Decorative Concrete Award winner - Weslaski

Alchemy Concrete created the “Legacy at the Lake” for the Weslaski lakeside retreat to establish a visual/physical sense of place. Slate-textured stamped concrete with contrasting borders welcomes visitors at the property’s entry. This same design extends to the motor court and beyond. An embossed Weslaski medallion accents the house entrance, while a meandering slate-textured walkway leads to the waterfront.

Aeriel view of a large property with decorative concrete stamped patios and walkways

Many layers of specialty concrete uses combine to create the Legacy “canvas.” These include gateway columns, a stepping-stone collection and a rear gathering area with an inlaid dragonfly table and stools. In-concrete lighting brightens the entry drive, motor court and connecting walkways.

Second Place, Captivating Concrete, Prescott, Michigan, for Oster

Polished Concrete & Overlays, Over 5,000 Square Feet

First Place, Burgess Concrete Construction, Moline, Michigan, for South Christian High School
South Christian High School - 2020 Decorative Concrete Award Winner South Christian High School

The new South Christian High School clients knew they wanted polished concrete floors because of their low maintenance and sustainability. So, Burgess Concrete Construction worked with Grand Rapids Gravel to create a consistent mix for the 45,000-square-foot project. They used concrete not only for the floors but also for steps, a staircase, seats and walls.

Burgess received poured steps and then hand-ground each one in its shop before installing. The team also placed a steel inlay in the concrete and polished around it. The inlay serves as an anchor point at one of the new building’s entrances.

Second Place, GH Phipps Construction Cos., Greenwood Village, Colorado, for Metro Street

Polished Concrete & Overlays, Under 5,000 Square Feet

First Place, Bob and Lee Ann Harris, Temple, Georgia, for the Decorative Concrete Institute floor
Stained and engraved concrete by Bob Harris concrete floor at the Decorative Concrete Institute

As part of a Decorative Concrete Institute polished concrete class, Bob and Lee Ann Harris, along with their students, replicated floors found in Venice, Italy. In particular, they mimicked the +450-year-old floors in the Basilica De Salute, a place the couple had visited often.

Part of the challenge was condensing a 100-foot-or-so-wide design into a space that could accommodate a 25-foot diameter. Three components comprised the design: an inner circle, a radiating middle and an outer medallion.

They used two tools to score the design: a shop vac to control airborne dust and a 4-inch hand grinder. The Harrises estimate the basilica reproduction consisted of around 13,000+ individual cuts.

Second Place, Decorative Concrete of Virginia, Lynchburg, Virginia, for Academy Center of the Arts

Cast-in-Place Special Finishes, Over 5,000 Square Feet

First Place, Largo Concrete, Tustin, California, for Railroad Trestle Bridge, Disney Frontierland expansion

Concrete Theming at an amusement park

The concrete trestle railroad bridge in Disneyland’s Frontierland expansion crosses part of the Rivers of America. The project’s challenges revolved around columns, hammerheads and a concrete mix design that could produce an aged-looking wooden railroad bridge.

Using hand-carved foam positives, Largo Construction produced very detailed form liners to make the columns. They used water-soaked rough-sawn lumber to accentuate the texture of the 12 hammerheads and attached four columns to each one.

Detailed faux rocks and wood that creates a themed look at an amusement park

Due to limited space to allow for a vibrator, Largo selected self-consolidating concrete to yield the best finished product. Both the hammerheads and the columns were made with the same mix design that fulfilled decorative and structural purposes. Usually these types of decorative concrete elements are post-installed as a façade covering a structural column.

Second Place, Trademark Concrete Systems, Camarillo, California, for 5900 Wilshire

Cast-in-Place Special Finishes, Under 5,000 Square Feet

First Place, T.B. Penick & Sons, San Diego, California, for Hal Brown Park
San Diego, California, for Hal Brown Park - lithomosaic up close of a lithomosaic in San Diego, California, for Hal Brown Park

Located across the street from a hospital, Hal Brown Park’s new 36-foot-diameter labyrinth promotes contemplation and restorative healing for park-goers. Designed by Rachel Rodi, the labyrinth comprises integrally colored concrete with a medium-etch finish embedded with mosaic materials. These materials include flat-cut pebbles, colored porcelain and Smalti tiles from Mexico.

Rodi and her team made the 60-piece mosaic in her studio. At the park, the first challenge involved forming a perfect circle. The design was symmetrical so everything had to line up perfectly.

The T.B. Penick crew’s challenge was aligning all these pieces at a fast pace before the concrete was too hard to work with. Besides the concrete setting up quickly, the weight of the cut mosaic pieces caused the scrim to stretch. Consequently, pieces fell off which required installers to repair them on the spot.

Vertical/Facades, Over 5,000 Square Feet

First Place, Bomanite Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia for Tzu Chi Education Center

front of the Tzu Chi Education Center

The Tzu Chi Education Center in Penang, Malaysia, is the result of a global foundation whose mission includes building schools for the less fortunate. For this school, Bomanite Malaysia worked with the general contractor to install exposed aggregate on the five-story building’s façades.

upclose of columns at Tzu Chi Education CenterThe Tzu Chi Foundation requires a mix of white, gray and green 10-15 mm pebbles on all its buildings worldwide. At close range, the pebbles almost protrude from the surface and you can hardly see any cement grouting. They are thoroughly washed and skillfully installed to form fine decorative architectural details on a nearly maintenance-free exterior.

Machinery mixed the pebbles but workers manually hoisted them bucket by bucket at the different levels. The Bomanite crew literally moved and lifted tons of materials for this job.

Second Place, Coloscapes, Loveland, Colorado, for Red Rocks Depot

Vertical/Facades, Under 5,000 Square Feet

First Place, Trademark Concrete Systems, Camarillo, California, for Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery

concrete at Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery
The 6,800-square-foot Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery functions as a fine art and automotive gallery. When driving by, the facility’s 12-foot-tall “fin wall” spells out “Mullin” or “Gallery” depending on the viewer’s direction of travel. Sixty-seven metal blades make up the wall, which can only be read from a distance.

contractors working on the Peter and Merle Mullin GalleryTrademark Concrete Systems set the fin plate shims at the same elevation with varying heights. The crews had to grout under each fin, which architecturally were “white.” Consequently, the project’s architect wanted the same “bright white” color to run from the fins to the surrounding cast-in-place concrete.

The budget wouldn’t allow for white cement so Trademark opted to use Scofield’s White Ash color hardener. The coloring produced striking results coupled with a lighting system that illuminates the art installation at night.

Concrete Artistry, Over 5,000 Square Feet

First Place, T.B. Penick & Sons, San Diego, California, for Roseville Downtown Bridge
Roseville Downtown Bridge - 2020 Decorative Concrete Awards Roseville Downtown Bridge

The Roseville Downtown Bridge, a 30-foot-wide pedestrian bridge that features a glass-seeded band, connects the town square to a park. At one end, a grand staircase leads to a new civic plaza. Throughout its length, the bridge celebrates the creek below with a water flow interpretation. The meandering band, separated with metal strips epoxied into saw cuts, guides visitors across the span.

One of the project’s main challenges was the temperature. During the day, it tipped 100 degrees F and at night the temperature would drop to 50-60 degrees. This drop caused the bridge to shrink 1 ½ to 2 inches.

Since the ready-mix didn’t supply ice or chilled water, T.B. Penick had to rely on shrinkage-reducing admixtures and set retarders. The crew had to cut the stainless-steel strips at every joint otherwise the shrinkage would have caused damage.

Second Place, Bomanite Malaysia Sdn Bhn, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, for Setia Ecohill 360

Concrete Artistry, Under 5,000 Square Feet

First Place, Superior Gunite, Jersey City, New Jersey, for Brattleboro Bridge

2020 Decorative Concrete Awards - Brattleboro Bridge

Using shotcrete to complete the eight web fins on the I-91 Brattleboro Bridge piers solved the project’s unforeseen snag. The installers had been placing sculpted-rock form panels on the piers. However, they couldn’t place the forms at the arched and inverted sections near the top.

Brattleboro Bridge piersThe only access was from below the bridge and pumping upward. Shotcrete allowed the installers to place the concrete on the fins, as well as seamlessly match the already-placed precast panels. Working and carving overhead at 120 feet in the air also presented a big challenge.

By using shotcrete, the contractor not only avoided delays, but it also gained time on the schedule. The crew completed the shotcrete segment in just nine days. By the end of the job, the owner said the sculpted shotcrete looked better than the precast panels.

Second Place, T.B. Penick & Sons, San Diego, California, for Making Waves

The DCC is composed of contractors, manufacturers and suppliers of decorative concrete products. The council is dedicated to improving the technical and business expertise of the contractors that pursue this specialty market.

To enter the 2021 awards competition, go to or call (866) 788-2722.

Part 2: 10 more category winners

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