In an age of tinted-glass curtain walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, and ubiquitous vinyl siding, it may be comforting to know that the granddaddy of all building materials—natural stone, quarried from the earth and hewn by hand in some cases—is still very much relevant to building construction and architecture.
Founded in 1919, the Building Stone Institute (BSI) is a not-for-profit trade association comprising quarries, fabricators, dealers, importers, exporters, carvers, restorers, designers, installers, and architects dedicated to serving its member firms as well as educating consumers on the uses and benefits of natural stone. Initially founded as an association of quarriers, the group has expanded in scope through the years to its current, more catholic membership. BSI's mission is to support member efforts to increase the quality of service, quality of products, and demand for stone.
Membership and a Magazine
"Our membership includes anybody who has anything to do with the natural stone industry," says BSI's executive vice president Jeff Buczkiewicz, "from getting it out of the ground to processing it. We also have some architects who are members."
Although most of the BSI membership is concentrated in the Northeast United States (before Buczkiewicz assumed leadership four years ago, it was headquartered in New York) BSI has members the world over, from Canada to Italy, Germany to the United Kingdom.
Domestic members pay a yearly fee of $1,000, with international members paying an additional $300. Architects, engineers and designers—the professionals who ultimately decide whether or not to use natural stone—enjoy a reduced membership fee of $200.