The World at Their Feet: High School’s Terrazzo Map Wins Accolades


A TERRAZZO MAP of Southeastern Virginia, is a learning tool in Kecoughtan High School. Photos: David Laudadio

Terrazzo map of southestern Virginia

THE AWARD-WINNING FLOOR is complete with accurate longitude and latitude grids and coordinates and a detailed outline of the Chesapeake Bay shoreline.



National Terrazzo Association Awards The David Allen Company for Kecoughtan High School Installation.

We worked with Hampton Schools to make every space in this science addition a learning area. The terrazzo map in the large Extended Learning space turns a normal floor into a learning opportunity.”

— Chris Gossett, Lead Architect, RRMM Architects of Chesapeake

HAMPTON, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES, May 3, 2024 / — When Hampton, Virginia, City Schools decided to construct a new science wing for Kecoughtan High School, the design team focused on maximizing learning opportunities in the new space. One strategy to reach this goal was a permanent geography lesson built into the floor. In the Extended Learning Area of the new Dr. Jeffery O. Smith Science Wing, a map of southeastern Virginia made of epoxy terrazzo is displayed. It includes accurate longitude and latitude grids, coordinates, and a detailed illustration of the Chesapeake Bay shoreline.

The terrazzo contractor on the project is the David Allen Company of Raleigh, North Carolina. The company was presented with a 2024 National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association (NTMA) Honor Award for the handcrafted terrazzo installation at Kecoughtan. The ceremony was held on April 17 at the NTMA’s annual convention in Tucson.

Terrazzo is a composite material poured in place by skilled artisans. Installers hand-bent all the zinc divider strips in the terrazzo map, following a stencil to accurately create the outlines of the intricate waterways and coastline. The map comprises five epoxy colors representing the bay’s earth, marsh, and water. Glass and mirror aggregates add depth and sparkle. The floors were designed to be resiliently seamless, durable, and easy to maintain.

“This project showcases some of the wonderful designs possible with epoxy terrazzo,” said JR Gidley, project manager with the David Allen Company. “Lifelike recreations of terrain are possible, and geographic locations can be incorporated into a building’s design to highlight the locale’s natural beauty.”

The new wing, dedicated November 1, 2023, adds 15 new state-of-the-art classrooms to the school. The 37,000-square-foot addition to the 1962 school was the district’s most extensive construction project in decades.

RMM Architects of Chesapeake, Virginia, designed this project, and Oyster Point Construction Company was the general contractor.

David Allen, a skilled craftsman in the masonry arts, established his company in 1920. Robert Roberson, the board’s current chairman, began his career with David Allen in 1957, purchasing the company in 1967. Headquartered in Raleigh, the company has offices in Washington, DC; Florida; South Carolina; and Alabama. They have installed over 50 million square feet of terrazzo in airports, museums, hotels, hospitals, coliseums, schools, and universities.

The NTMA’s annual Honor Award program recognizes outstanding terrazzo projects its members submit. It promotes member contractors as the sole qualified resource for terrazzo installations that meet industry standards. Terrazzo veterans and design professionals evaluate the submitted entries.

The NTMA is a full-service nonprofit trade association headquartered in Fredericksburg, Texas. Founded in 1923, it has 152 contractor and supplier members. The NTMA establishes national standards for terrazzo systems for floor and vertical applications. Its mission is to promote quality craftsmanship and creativity in terrazzo while supporting its members in their trade and service to the construction industry.

The NTMA provides free services to architects, interior designers, artists, general contractors, maintenance professionals, and property owners. From helping the design community write specifications to providing technical assistance, the NTMA’s goal is to help ensure quality terrazzo installations.

Terrazzo systems originated in 15th-century Italy, descending from the mosaic artistry of Ancient Rome. It evolved as a sustainable building system as resourceful Venetian marble workers discovered a creative way to reuse discarded stone chips. Terrazzo artisans still pour terrazzo by hand on the construction site, with options for precast and waterjet-cut elements. Stone, recycled glass, or other aggregates, often sourced locally, are embedded in a cement or epoxy base and polished to reveal the chips. Terrazzo combines design flexibility with ease of maintenance and durability to last the life of the building.

JR Gidley
David Allen Company
+1 919-821-7100
[email protected]
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National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association 2024 Honor Awards

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