Terrazzo Around the World: Hoover Dam

In this month’s edition of Terrazzo Around the World, we will take an in-depth look at one of the world’s biggest dams, The Hoover Dam. So far we have discovered terrazzo inside George Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon, and along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Hoover Dam has an interesting back story as well.

Hoover Dam’s Construction

Once known as Boulder Dam, the Hoover Dam is a concrete dam that resides in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border of Nevada and Arizona.

In 1931, construction began on the Hoover Dam. The purpose for creating the dam was to help control floods, provide irrigation water and produce hydroelectric power. As a result, it becomes of the largest dams ever built. It also is a work of art.

If you have ever visited the Hoover Dam, you would have noticed a showcase of beautifully designed artwork from artisans and artists. Among the artwork is terrazzo.

The Architects Behind the Hoover Dam Design

Architect Gordon B. Kauffman and artist Allen True are responsible for bringing a visual scheme that complemented the engineer’s design. They included a mixture of modern art deco and motifs.

True added his own touch to the monument by deciding to use Southwestern Indian culture into the terrazzo’s design. Striking the human eye, True blended a mixture of black, white, green and red chips in the terrazzo floor to contrast with the black marble walls. The design inspiration particularly comes from Native American baskets, pottery and sand paintings.

Terrazzo Installation

The terrazzo floors were installed by two Italian brothers, Joseph and John Martina, who distributed brass and aluminum divider strips to help create a distinct pattern. Terrazzo originated in Italy several hundred years ago but really rose in popularity in the 1920s, around the same time that the Hoover Dam was being built.

The Hoover Dam is a sight to see. Other than the beautiful terrazzo floors, one can expect to see amazing sculptures and other architectural designs on his or her visit.

Terrazzo has some beneficial features for monuments around the world. Features such as terrazzo’s durability and design have allowed the Hoover Dam to be preserved throughout the decades, bringing new visitors to marvel at the view of the dam’s architectural design.

We encourage you to read more about terrazzo in our other blogs. Click here to browse through our blog section.


Doyle Dickerson Terrazzo is a professional terrazzo installer in Charlotte, North Carolina. We offer terrazzo services throughout the Southeastern United States. Need us to design your next floor, install precast stairs or provide any information about terrazzo? Doyle Dickerson Terrazzo can help. Give us a call today at (704) 921-4940 or email us at info@doyledickersonterrazzo.com

Source: History.com, Wikipedia

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2018-03-26T20:21:17+00:00 Categories: Terrazzo History|0 Comments