In 1882, a New Yorker named Theodore Loop trekked all the way across the country to southern California to build a railroad to connect Los Angeles, CA, to San Diego, CA. The original train tracks were laid down in the middle of a plot of land known as “Township 14,” which is known today as Del Mar, the affluent beach city located in San Diego. Less than two years ago, a new corporate office complex was built in the heart of Del Mar — consisting of a four-story building and an adjacent three-story structure — and was named “Township 14” to lend homage to the land’s historical roots.

The two office buildings are located on High Bluff Drive in the center of Del Mar Heights, a premier business district in San Diego, and are part of a one-of-a-kind project in the area, according to Darrel Fullbright, design director and senior associate at the international architectural firm, Gensler, in their San Diego, CA office. “The project entailed the demolition of one of a two-building complex and the re-skin of the other,” he said. “The demolished structure was functionally obsolete, as it was a custom design for a tenant long gone. The new design took the same square footage contained in the existing two-story building and reapportioned it into three stories, thus creating a smaller footprint and allowing for more parking onsite. The area has a long history of requiring traditional brick facades, and the client wanted a more forward [modern] design aesthetic, so the concept was to combine extensive glass facades that address the freeway scale with punched openings complementing the neighborhood sides.”

Installation Details

Township 14

San Diego, CA

Architect: Gensler, San Diego, CA

General Contractor: DPR Construction, San Diego, CA

Tile Suppliers: Daltile, Dallas, TX (Sandstone collection in “Chantrelle” (Vein-Cut Brushed), Quarry Textures™ collection in “Ashen Gray,” Keystones™ mosaic collection in “Biscuit”); Arizona Tile, Tempe, AZ (Crema Europa collection; Metalwood series in “Platino” and “Argento”); SpecCeramics, Inc., Fullerton, CA (Fusion collection in glossy white); Everstone, Sydney, Australia (Everquartz™ Mosaics collection in “Gunmetal”)

Stone Supplier: Daltile, Dallas, TX (Limestone collection in “Chenille White” (Vein-Cut) and Saddle Stone collection in “Taupe”)

Tile Installer: East County Tile & Marble, Santee, CA

Installation Products: Custom Building Products, Seal Beach, CA (RedGard® Crack Prevention and Waterproofing Membrane, ProLite® Rapid Setting Large Format Tile & Stone Mortar, Prism® SureColor® Grout, VersaBond®-LFT Fortified Medium Bed Mortar and VersaBond® Fortified Thin-Set Mortar)

The buildings, which are the newest addition to the Del Mar Heights area since 2006, neighbor numerous Fortune 500 companies, and are open for lease, targeting law, biotech and business companies. Both are classified as Class “A” buildings and are LEED Silver and Gold certified.

Just over 30,000 square feet of stone and tile was used to construct the new 69,000-square-foot, three-story building and remodel/reskin the 57,000-square-foot, four-story building that collaboratively make up Township 14. While natural stone was employed for the exterior, the interior features ceramic tile.

“The selection of the stone was based on getting a linear plank effect like a stacked stone, but in an easy-to-maintain and more timeless honed finish,” explained Fullbright. “The team was drawn to the neutral gray color of the [stone] tile versus the more warm residential colors typical of natural stone.”

The majority of the stone — 21,188 square feet to be exact — was used for the exterior facades of the buildings. The design team selected Daltile’s Limestone collection in “Chenille White” (Vein-Cut) in an 8- x 36- x 3/8-inch format. The pieces were laid in a staggered pattern, which embrace more neutral shades with distinct gray veining. The exterior ledgers also feature 900 square feet of tiles from Daltile’s Saddle Stone collection in “Taupe.”

The interior of the buildings feature a range of different tile and stone that was used to create more contemporary environments. The interior flooring consists of 3,118 square feet of tile from SpecCeramics, Inc.’s Fusion ceramic collection in a glossy white in a 10- x 18-inch format; 1,532 square feet of limestone from Arizona Tile’s Crema Europa Collection in a 12- x 24-inch format with 1/16-inch grout joints and a matching flush base; 1,180 square feet of Arizona Tile’s Metalwood porcelain tile series in “Platino” in 18- x 36-inch planks with a 1/16-inch grout line and a matching base; 981 square feet of Arizona Tile’s Metalwood porcelain tile series in “Argento” in 4- x 24-inch planks with a 1/16-inch grout line and a matching base; 767 square feet of porcelain tile from Everstone’s Everquartz™ Mosaics Collection in “Gunmetal” in mixed formats; 706 square feet of stone tile from Daltile’s Sandstone Collection in “Chantrelle” (Vein-Cut Brushed) in a 12- x 36-inch format with 1/16-inch grout joints and a matching flush base; 400 square feet of tile from Daltile’s Quarry Textures™ porcelain collection in “Ashen Gray” in an 8- x 8-inch format; and 82 square feet of tile from Daltile’s Keystones™ mosaic tile collection  in “Biscuit” in a 2- x 2-inch format with a matching cove base, which were used for the shower floor in the locker room — provided for the tenants since the building also incorporates a high-performance fitness center.

“For the interiors, the gray color palette was complemented with empathetic selections in ceramic for both the lobby and restrooms,” said Fullbright.

The installation, which was completed by East County Tile & Marble in Santee, CA, required between eight to 10 installers at any given time, according to John Beck, Estimator at East County Tile & Marble, who led the installation. “We used a thinset method to liquid-applied waterproofing membrane over a plaster brown coat for the exterior, thinset to concrete at all floors, and an adhesive method for the restroom walls,” he said. “And we used Custom Building Products for the thinset, grout, waterproofing membrane and sealer.”

Beck and his team utilized Custom’s RedGard® Crack Prevention and Waterproofing Membrane, a ready-to-use elastomeric waterproofing membrane that creates a continuous waterproofing barrier with outstanding adhesion and reduces crack transmission in tile and stone floors; ProLite® Rapid Setting Large Format Tile & Stone Mortar, a medium-bed, dry-set mortar, which provides excellent bond strength for large-format tiles like those installed at Township 14; Prism® SureColor® Grout, a fast-setting, lightweight, polymer-modified grout offering consistent color, which is 32% lighter than other grouts; VersaBond®-LFT Fortified Medium Bed Mortar, a general purpose, economical, polymer-modified medium bed mortar for use with large-format porcelain, ceramic and natural stone tile; and VersaBond® Fortified Thin-Set Mortar, an all-purpose, polymer-modified mortar that provides good bond strength.

Beck said the project took several months to complete, with no unusual difficulties or complications. “This project had its challenges, but none of them were out of the ordinary or unusual,” he said. “It took a lot of coordination to install and complete this large two-building project. But with the coordination between DPR, Custom Building Products and East County Tile, this project turned out very nice.”

Fullbright agreed that the job ran smoothly. “The project has been very well received,” he said. “Especially the new exterior skin — it has been a total transformation.”