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A State of Concrete … Literally

Tony and Patricia Tye, Texans and owners of Concrete Pumps of Texas, are building a house in the shape of Texas. In fact, the house sits in Texas the same direction as the state of Texas is positioned in the USA.

A Putzmeister 28-Meter concrete boom pump was used to pump the approximate 200 yards needed for the footings and wall foundations and another 50 yards in miscellaneous areas for the house.

A State of Concrete … Literally

Most Texans are proud of their state's heritage and most concrete pumpers are loyal to the construction industry. However, most don't go to the extreme levels of building a home in the shape of Texas to show their pride and loyalty. But that's exactly what Tony and Patricia Tye, Texans and owners of Concrete Pumps of Texas pumping company did over the past few years.

With a strong Texan background, a commitment to the construction industry, and a rather ingenious approach, Tony and Patricia mapped out a large 10,264-square-foot home shaped like the state of Texas. Big - yes, but so is Texas. In fact, the house sits in Texas the same direction as the state of Texas is positioned in the USA. And that was no coincidence.

The Idea
Even though lots of promotional items and souvenirs around the state say, "Don't Mess with Texas," Tony and Patricia Tye didn't take it literally. They messed with the idea of a Texas-shaped house about five years ago.

Tony said, "After some checking, we were amazed no one else had done it before because almost everything around here is in the shape of Texas. However, we didn't anticipate so much publicity. Newspapers, TV and radio stations, aerial photography and even Web sites have all spotlighted our Texas home under construction."

The Plan
When the Tye's took their hand-sketched idea to The Plan Factory, a 20-year-old architectural firm, Tony Escobedo, owner and chief architect was both excited yet nervous about the unusual request. Concerns such as structural roundness and design functionality, roofing the home and maintaining the integrity of the shape quickly came to mind. However, the challenge was great; and after more than a year of detailed blueprint alternatives, the original hand-sketched drawing was brought to life.

During the process, Escobedo looked for guidance in effective custom building techniques to ensure all details were covered. As a result, they consulted with Cumming Homes, Inc, a custom home builder in the San Antonio area with over 23 years experience. Because of their connection, owner Jeffrey Cumming became very familiar with the home and bid on the job. The company was awarded the project and accepted the unprecedented task ahead.

Jeffrey Cumming said, "When you've got the chance to build Texas, you have to take it. Even though it brings with it unique complexities, it's a dream come true. We've even dedicated a place on our Web site to highlight it."

Although it's difficult to imagine the layout of the two-story, four-bedroom home, the flow is quite effective. The owners even tend to call the rooms by the areas they represent on the map, i.e., Brownsville or South Texas is the main entrance with the Rio Grande to the left, the panhandle is the kitchen area, and the bar is the eastern portion of the state. The entire home will be completely surrounded by a huge wrap-around porch with balcony, which gives the structure its unique Lone Star shape.

"Unfortunately, it's easier to draw plans than to build them," commented builder Jeffrey Cumming. "When you're dealing with such an unusual shape, even building closets and cabinets is a big deal. However, the major challenge was ensuring the huge 3,000-square-foot balcony that wraps around the home 10 feet off the ground has enough structural integrity and is watertight when gully washers hit the area."

The Plan Takes Shape
The groundbreaking ceremony was held April 27, 2001, at the existing 246-acre TePee Texas Ranch, named after Tony and Patricia's initials. Various family members and the builder broke ground together followed by a traditional Texas BBQ. Shortly thereafter, the forms were precisely laid out in the famous Texas shape using rounded edges for the radius. And finally the pumping process began on May 10.

Tony has been involved with concrete pumping for over thirty years. Currently, the Tye's operate a pumping and material placing business, which serves the residential and commercial construction industry with a wide range of Putzmeister concrete boom pumps, conveyors and trailer pumps from three locations - San Antonio, Fort Worth and Laredo, Texas. Therefore, for this highly personalized job, they obviously relied on one of their Putzmeister 28-meter units to pump the approximate 200 yards needed for the footings and wall foundations and another 50 yards in miscellaneous areas.

During the construction, all efforts were made to preserve the natural surroundings of cactus and other vegetation. Other than that, there were no other major unexpected hurdles to overcome.

A one-of-a-kind home
As a result, in February 2002 the Tye's expect to take occupancy of their new home about 20 miles north of San Antonio. With about 4,348 square feet of living space - over 10,200 square feet with porches and balconies, this home is certainly a "first" in the state. Yet whether it truly remains a one-of-a-kind is unknown, as the builder has already had several interested people calling for various shaped homes. For more photos or information, logon to the builder's site at www.cumminghomes.com.

The Cost
Wondering about the cost of such an elaborate home? Well, let's say "one just can't put a price tag on Texas."

Owners: Tony and Patricia Tye
Architect: The Plan Factory - San Antonio
General contractor: Cumming Homes, Inc. - San Antonio
Pumping contractor: Concrete Pumps of Texas - San Antonio
Ready-mix supplier: Martin Marietta - San Antonio
Equipment: Putzmeister 28-Meter truck-mounted boom pump