A short half-hour drive from our nation’s capital is the Hyatt Regency at Tysons Corner Center, part of a major mixed-use expansion by architect CallisonRTKL. The master development plan includes the 18-story, 300-key hotel in addition to an office tower, residential complex, and outdoor public plaza, all centered around the renowned Tysons Corner Center shopping mall.
While the Hyatt Regency is conveniently located near downtown Washington D.C., it is also in close proximity to the area’s technology and medical corridors, making it a popular hospitality option for both leisure and business. The hotel was designed to offer all visitors an upscale experience, so it was important that this premium quality be reflected in the look of the building’s façade.
- Owner: Macerich
- Architect: CallisonRTKL
- Installation Contractor: Gate Precast
- General Contractor: Harvey Cleary
- ~22,800 SF of TerraPreCast Panels (24”–64” length)
- ~11 lbs/SF Panel Weight
- 5 Custom Profile Dies for Dovetail Veneers
- 3 Through-Body Colors: Slate, Charcoal, & Gravel
The façade of the Hyatt Regency at Tysons Corner is a combination of glass and precast terra cotta cladding, which consists of a terra cotta veneer embedded as a finishing material into precast concrete units. Boston Valley Terra Cotta fabricated approximately 22,800 SF of dovetail veneer panels for installer Gate Precast, using five custom profile dies.
Guest rooms line the east and west faces of the Hyatt Regency; their exteriors are clad with modular terra cotta panels in gray, stacked vertically to create double-height window expressions. On the north face, panels in a mix of three through-body colors (Slate, Charcoal, and Gravel) cover the façade to create visual interest. Unlike glazed terra cotta, through-body color is achieved through a combination of clays, minerals, and stains, which are then mixed with water and fired to a high temperature. This forms permanent bonds that will make sure the building experiences no color fade from UV exposure.
Precast concrete was chosen for the Hyatt Regency due to the economy and speed of installation it affords, which bypassed obstacles such as a small construction space and a hard opening deadline. Incorporating terra cotta into the hotel façade gives it a handcrafted aesthetic that can still be achieved efficiently through manufacturing. As a natural material with a low thermal mass, it also adds to the precast system’s energy efficiency, helping the building meet sustainability goals.
From the beginning of the project, Boston Valley worked closely with Gate Precast to rationalize the custom profile dies for the hotel, making sure the large shiplap joints spec’d by the architect could meet manufacturing limitations. The two fabricators also collaborated with CallisonRTKL and the Precast Institute to develop and apply new standards for terra cotta precast, which was still a new and innovative construction technique at the time. Once the panels had been cast, Boston Valley ran testing on the assembly to confirm these new specifications.
By using terra cotta in combination with precast, the Hyatt Regency hotel benefits from both the strength of concrete and the aesthetic versatility of clay. Terra cotta offers an endless number of profile and color options, making it easy for the architect to achieve their design intent.