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David Geffen School of Medicine

Man of Stone, Heart of Gold

Man of Stone, Heart of GoldThe 18,000 tiles of travertine marble that wrap the exterior of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center are much more than just a beautiful adornment. They are a testament to the quality of the healthcare that UCLA is known for and will continue within those walls.

That is because the Ambralight marble was provided by a man who himself benefited from that healthcare, and in his desire to thank UCLA made available the stone from his family’s quarry in Tivoli, Italy, at $1 million below market cost. Physicians at UCLA twice saved the life of Carlo Mariotti, treating him for more than 12 years for bone and gall bladder cancer.

Stone from Mariotti & Figli quarries graces some of the most-significant buildings in the United States, including Sears Towers in Chicago, Lincoln Center in New York, Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Getty Center, as well as towering skyscrapers in Shanghai and Kuala Lampur and elsewhere in the world. (Mariotti travertine also was inside the World Trade Center towers in New York. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Mariotti said that watching the images of the towers fall on September 11, 2001, felt like losing a child.) The buff-colored travertine used for Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has pronounced gray-green and white veins that convey a visual strength that suits the scale of the building and keep it from looking monolithic.

Unfortunately, Mariotti did not live to see the project completed. He died in 2004. — UCLA Medicine staff


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