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The Test of Time: 10,000 N. Central Expressway, 30 Years Later

January 20, 2016

The Test of Time: 10,000 N. Central Expressway, 30 Years Later

The Dallas office building, 10,000 N. Central Expressway, stands as a 30-year testament to the strength, beauty, and durability of StoneLite® panels.

Project name: 10,000 N. Central Expressway
Project location: Dallas, Texas
Year: 1984
Architecture Firm: HKS Architects
Developer: Paragon
Exterior Product: StoneLite® Swedish Mahogany Granite


During the 70s and 80s, granite was a popular architectural specification throughout the DFW Metroplex. Together, developer Paragon and HKS Architects dreamed up a 15-story commercial property that exhibited the recognizable natural stone exterior. With 70,000 sq. ft. of StoneLite® Swedish Mahogany Granite, 10,000 N. Central Expressway became an aesthetic fixture on the Dallas commute. The Swedish Mahogany Granite was also extended into the lobby interior. According to Peter Myles (Stone Panels Director of International Sales), “The building looks just as good today as it did 30 years ago when it was completed.”

The challenge

The barrel vault roof structure on top of the building, while not unique, was one of the first of its kind. It presented some significant installation challenges, especially with the large StoneLite® panels on a reverse 45-degree slope at the ends of the roof structure. During construction, the contractor had difficulties with the foundation and the post-tensioned concrete slabs; this required additional steel work on the underside of the slab in the parking garage. Paragon was in search of an exterior stone panel that was both cost-efficient and lightweight.

“If we had used dimensional stone, we would have had to add so much structure underneath the parking garage,” says Henry C. Beck. “It would have been too restricted in clearance, and lacking enough for the larger vehicles.”

At one-fifth the weight of dimensional stone, StoneLite® panels provided the lightweight alternative that ultimately saved the building’s functionality. Had they gone with dimensional stone, the necessary underlying structure of the parking garage would have restricted the clearance of large vehicles. Little did the project team know, the StoneLite® panels would soon be put through the ultimate test of durability with 150-mph hurricane-like winds, just six years after construction.

The storm

In the early 1990s, a powerful storm plowed through North Texas, estimating straight line winds of 150 mph. The strong, rotating winds penetrated the North Central corridor causing the building to lose about 25% of its glass. The interior offices experienced significant damage, losing ceiling tiles, equipment, and documents that were sucked out of the offices. However, no StoneLite® panels were damaged during the storm, and no panel had to be repaired or replaced. The building across the road, La Sierra, was built with solid Travertine Limestone cladding and lost virtually all of its cladding.

The outcome

According to Paragon, the developer on the project, the aesthetics of granite mixed with its unmatched durability made for the ideal stone panel. The result was a “rich-looking building that would not be mistaken for a cheap manufactured cladding material,” says Paragon. “The Swedish Mahogany has a lot of character unlike synthetic cladding materials.” Since the 1990 storm, StoneLite® panels have been rigorously tested and proven to withstand very high hurricane wind and impact damage, as well as blast resistance to a very high explosive load—none of which have caused any damage to StoneLite® panels. Stone Panels Inc. is the only natural stone supplier accepted by the Miami-Dade Building Code Compliance office (responsible for testing exterior wall systems for their ability to resist hurricane wind and large missile impact). Video of StoneLite® panels blast test can be found here.

The product

This 15-story commercial property built in 1984 exhibits over 70,000 sq. ft. of StoneLite® Swedish Mahogany granite (over 4,950 panels) in interior and exterior applications. Stone Panels Inc. also pre-panelized the 10,000 N. Central project by attaching StoneLite® panels to steel-stud frames (typically 6 ft. high, 25 ft. long) using structural silicone attachments; no mechanical attachments were used. Stone Panels Inc. installed a floor of panels per week, and pre-panelizing allowed this to be achieved with only four men.

Company: Stone Panels International LLC

Product: StoneLite®




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