Tag: Featured Project

Weeksville Heritage Center

Unfading Mottled Green & Purple Slate at Weeksville Project.

This beautiful stone speaks of the city’s respect for the importance of this site…

Sara Caples, Caples Jefferson Architects

The Weeksville Heritage Center was designed by Caples Jefferson Architects and completed in 2014.  The structure sits on an historic site in Brooklyn which was one of America’s first free black communities. The Heritage Center’s mission is to document, preserve and interpret the history of the free African-American communities of Weeksville, Brooklyn, and beyond and to create and inspire innovative, contemporary uses of African-American history through education, the arts and civic engagement.

Caples Jefferson Architects’ design for this Certified LEED Gold building has received much praise and many awards (see below).  Simone Corda writes, “The patterns and the rich textures offered by the slate, the wood and the frit glass create a rhythm almost of African riffs embedded into a modern syntax. These elements add a playfulness to the civic tone set by the geometrical rigors of the building making the space welcoming to the wide community that enjoys it. The architects’ commitment to community goes further yet with due diligence given to environmental sustainability.”

When the Historic Districts Council awarded the Weeksville Heritage Center its HDC 2014 Design Award, the jury commented, “The dramatic horizontal stretch of the building gives a much needed edge to the open property, and both exterior and interior spaces are sensitively formed. The range of materials and beautifully crafted details, suggestive of African patterns, seem to reach out to visitors, making a subtle transition from street to park.”

All of us here at Vermont Structural Slate Co. are proud our Unfading Mottled Green & Purple Slate was selected as the signature stone for this important project. We are flattered that Designer Sara Caples commented, “This beautiful stone speaks of the city’s respect for the importance of this site.  The stone base anchors the building while delighting the passersby with its constantly changing colors and textures.”

For this project, we quarried the Unfading Mottled Green & Purple Slate blocks from our Eureka Quarry in North Poultney, Vermont which has been in continuous operation since the late 1800s and has produced for countless prestigious projects including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and The Old Executive Office Building in Washington, DC.  We then hand-split the quarried blocks into natural cleft finish pieces, calibrated them to thickness and cut them into precise geometric shapes.

The selection and quality expectations required for the Weeksville Heritage Center took more than just high quality stone and fabrication experience…it takes an exacting mindset and pride in being part of a great project like this one.  We truly enjoy our work with architects and meeting the challenges of their designs.

Awards for the Weeksville Heritage Center:

2015 – AIA NY COTE Sustainability Institutional Award
2014 – Best of New York AIA New York State
2014 – Award of Excellence AIA New York State MASterworks Best New Building
2014 – Municipal Art Society Design Award Historic Districts Council Nominee Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize
2013 – Best Cultural Project Citation Architect Magazine
2013 – Honor Award National Organization of Minority Architects


Photos by Nic Lehoux


Grayson Slate wall cladding at Abiomed

Engaging with Vermont Structural Slate from the outset was instrumental to the design process…The outcome was a marriage between technical details and beauty.

Lauren Gunther

Abiomed is a manufacturer of medical implant devices including the world’s smallest heart pump.  The rapidly growing company recently expanded its Danvers, Massachusetts headquarters, a $40 million project completed in 2017 that increased the size of its campus from 60,000 square feet to 160,000 square feet. The expansion allowed the company to boost its manufacturing and research capabilities.

Stantec’s Boston office designed the new facility.  After a lengthy stone selection process, Stantec specified Grayson Slate for the exterior wall cladding.  James River Slate Co., our subsidiary located in Arvonia, Virginia, quarried the Grayson Slate blocks and cut them into oversize billets.  Then we shipped the billets to our Whitehall, New York mill where they were sliced into slabs, cut to size, honed and drilled for anchor holes.

We are flattered architect Lauren Günther commented, “Engaging with Vermont Structural Slate from the outset was instrumental to the design process.  Vermont Structural Slate facilitated cost comparisons and communicated material drivers such as what the slate quarry was able to produce.  They provided various attachment options which led to Fischer/Probe and ultimately better thermal performance.  The outcome was a marriage between technical details and beauty.”

Doug Sheldon of Vermont Structural Slate Co. adds, “We were pleased our Grayson Slate was selected as the signature stone for Abiomed and we enjoyed working through the technical issues that arose. Grayson is perhaps the highest quality slate in the world and its reflective metallic gray color, unfading weathering characteristic and depth of visual movement make it unique.”

Producing natural stone projects of this caliber takes more than just high quality stone and fabrication experience…it takes a mindset…attention to detail and constant sorting.  Every person at Vermont Structural Slate Co. has a sharp eye for detail and is committed to architects and meeting the challenges of their designs.

Yale University Residential Colleges

We recently finished producing one of the larger slate roofing projects in the United States.

It was about 1,800 squares (50 truckloads) of random width, mixed color Vermont slates for the new Yale University Residential Colleges designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects.

Of the total, about 900 squares was graduated lengths and thicknesses…24″ lengths x 1″ thick down to 12″ lengths x 1/4″ thick.

We blended all 4 colors on each pallet to assist the roofing contractors.

WTC Oculus

We are a proud supplier of Grafton Cloud Marble, the signature white stone for the World Trade Center (WTC) Transportation Hub designed by Santiago Calatrava.  Grafton Cloud Marble was specified after an intensive 5 year stone and quarry selection process.  Over 350,000 square feet of honed finish cut-to-size Grafton Cloud Marble was used for the floors, walls, stairs and benches of this graceful structure.

Mr. Calatrava describes ‘light as a structural element’ in his Oculus design: both in capturing the ‘wedge of light’ of each September’s autumnal equinox – culminating when the skylights open for 102 minutes on September 11th, but also in creating a light-filled, cathedral-like entry point to the city. He also speaks of aiming, through architecture as art, to elevate the experience for the every day worker passing through, while conceding its ‘technically ambitious’ design required the ‘will’ of New York to accept the challenge.

The Oculus design is sculptural and elegant but also – as a transportation hub – highly functional in its brightness, allowing natural daylight to flood through all levels and eventually to the PATH train platform, approximately 60 ft below the street. Long connecting corridors are ‘at once imposingly cavernous and celestially illuminated’. Finding a white stone that would stand up to the incredible demands of the use was paramount.

Grafton Cloud Marble was chosen for this demanding application because it is the highest quality, most beautiful white marble in the world.  The stone is very strong, hard and dense and has extremely low absorption rates.  It is an excellent choice for both exterior and interior applications.  Its brilliance and clarity is unmatched by any other white marble in the world. The Oculus design was ambitious in many ways, and the stone was no exception.

Although a massive project in scale, the stone was highly selected: each and every piece used in the project was laid out and blended by the architects in Italy.  Also, a large percentage of the project was cubic and curved, requiring complex geometry and CNC machining with very precise tolerances.

Craig Markcrow, President of Vermont Structural Slate



Unfadgin Green Slate flooring and stairs at MoMA in New York.

We are proud of our participation in the new Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York designed by Taniguchi and Associates. We quarried and fabricated approximately 40,000 square feet of honed finish Vermont Unfading Green Slate featured throughout the building.

We also supplied Janegrey Sandstone and Grafton Marble for the Museum, for the sculpture garden walls and sculpture bases.