History of Glass Block Architecture | Glass Block Wall

Glass Block

A History of Glass Block Architecture

Glass is one of man’s most important and lasting inventions. Throughout the history of glass usage, it has been reimagined and adapted to applications ranging from dinnerware to packaging, to biotechnology and fiber optics, and to so much more. Glass is a critical component in windows, doors, and other interior features such as mirrors, picture frames, decorative vases, and bottles.  It is also one of many elements architects and designers look to use when adding a "wow" factor to any project.  At GBA, our line of walkable glass systems includes the largest supply of glass block in the United States, which means we have the custom glass wall or glass walking surface solution for you.  

Read More

Fire Rated Glass Block | Safety Info

Fire Rated Glass Block, Safety, Glass Block

The Safety and Durability of Fire Rated Glass Block

Attractive, durable, energy-efficient, and capable of illuminating any space, fire rated glass block is endowed with inherent fire-resistant properties. In many fire-safe buildings, fire rated glass block structural components provide an additional level of safety that wood and drywall cannot. Whether for interior walls, stairwells, flooring, or exterior cladding and windows, structural fire rated glass block adds pleasing aesthetics and natural light while providing an added measure of fire protection.

Read More

6 Finishes to Complete Any Glass Block Project

Interior Finishes, Design, Glass Block

The Finishing Touch on Your Glass Block Project

It is no secret that glass block is a dynamic, adaptable building material used to create everything from desks to partition walls to pet kennels. With hundreds of patterns, shapes, and finishes available to designers and architects, the possibilities are virtually endless when working with glass block. The idea of a glass block accent wall can be an exciting home or office improvement project, but it begs the question - how do you finish the end of the glass block wall so that it looks appealing? 

Read More

Vault Lights | Durable Vaulted Sidewalk Pavement Lights

Architecture, Vault Lights

Vault Lights |  Concrete and Cast Iron Vaulted Sidewalk

Vault Lights: The Beginning

Vault lights were invented in 1845 by Thaddeus Hyatt, and were initially used on ship decks to provide light below without using hazardous, open flame-producing instruments. These durable glass features were later mounted in concrete and cast iron panels and installed in city sidewalks to admit light into basements and spaces below.

Read More

Custom Glass Deck Panels | Attain a Unique Glass Deck Floor

Design, Structural Glass

Creating an Outdoor Glass Deck Floor

Glass Deck Panels / Maintaining a Glass Deck / GBA

Creating an exterior deck made of glass sounds daunting, as there are so many different flooring types to choose from. After all, a glass deck is a great opportunity for complete customization. While some homeowners want their deck to be private, others may opt for a bright space fit for entertaining. 

In addition, a lot of people worry about the safety and durability of the glass when exposed to the elements.  Not only can GBA's structural glass be used for decks but our glass stair treads also have the option to be used outdoors.  Using a combination of glass and aluminum framing, our glass floors are engineered to be structurally sound glass flooring systems.  Glass decks offer the versatility of a structural glass floor while elevating the outdoor experience.  

Read More

Glass Floors in Houses

Interior Finishes, Structural Glass, Daylighting

Residential Glass Floor Systems

Glass floors and walkways are becoming increasingly popular among home owners and interior designers.  When engineered properly, glass can be strong enough to withstand the weight of a vehicle!  Of course structural glass has more benefits than its strength.  Glass floors in houses offer a unique accent to any wood, tile, stone, or concrete floor.  Whether you construct a mezzanine, a whole floor, or just a corner of the floor with glass it is sure to make your house more appealing and inspiring.  

Read More

Walkable Glass Skylights | Customizable Glass Flooring Systems

Structural Glass, Daylighting

Benefits / Business Structure Skylights / Skylight Applications / GBA

When it comes to the purchase of a building, residential or commercial, the space is what draws you in.  Glass has the ability to bring light and create a warm sense of openness thanks to its transparency and timeless aesthetic. In many buildings, natural light is limited, which is why home and property owners look to walkable glass skylights and flooring systems for a solution. Walkable glass skylights allow natural light flow into lower areas of your building, creating a beautiful space that feels larger and more open. Here at GBA, our skylights come in both traditional glass as well as walkable sidewalk skylight applications that combine glass pavers with cast iron or concrete. 

Read More

What Are Glass Block Accent Walls?

Offices, Glass Block

When you hear accent walls, what do you think of? Maybe it’s your grandmas tacky dining room wall paper or maybe a DIY board and batten wall gone wrong. We are here to change the way you think of accent walls and let you know how aesthetically pleasing and practical they can be, especially when it is made out of glass block. Many associate glass block and glass bricks with the outdated architectural styles from the 1980s. With modern technology and design experts, glass block is being used in renovations of industrial lofts and restaurants, vintage storefront windows, and even as dividing walls between offices.

Read More

Glass Block Windscreens

Transportation, Glass Block

What is a windscreen?

Read More

Historic Glass Block Renovations: Main Street Station

Historic Glass Block Renovation, Structural Glass

Historic Glass Block Renovations:

Main Street Station



Architect: SMBW Architects

General Contractor: Taylor & Parrish Construction

Owner: City of Richmond Department of General Services


Main Street Station: The History

In 1901, the Main Street Station was built in the heart of Richmond, Virginia. Served by Amtrak, the historic Main Street Station served as not only a transit station but as offices and an entertainment venue as well. The station was built by a firm from Philadelphia, Wilson, Harris, and Richards in an exquisite Second Renaissance Revival Style. By the 1920s, the station had over 20 trains passing through the station each day.

Main Street Station was faced with tragic events that would cause Amtrak to move its service to the Staple Mills Road station in Henrico. In 1972, the station suffered from severe water damage when Hurricane Agnes hit Virginia causing Main Street Station to flood. The following years would only lead to more damage, the fires of 1976 and 1983 which caused significant damage to the upper floors of the station.

Following these catastrophic events, renovations of the station took place and by the early 2000s, the rail service was able to return to Main Street Station.

 

The Glass Block Renovation

Encasing the history of the Main Street Station was the most important aspect of this project. GBA Architectural Products + Services worked alongside Taylor & Parrish Construction and SMBW Architects to complete the preservation of the Main Street Station. Transforming this historic station into a modern venue for food markets, restaurants and cultural attractions was the upmost goal of the renovation.

In 2016, SMBW Architects created the design to be a GlassWalk™ multi-product approach to showcase the history below.  This project included two different types of GBA floor systems on the second floor of the station. One system being the GlassWalk™ Structural Glass (SG) and framing elements. The Structural Glass system was used to showcase pieces of the original train tracks under the clear glass. This allows visitors to admire a small piece of the stations history while still providing a functional environment for events.

The second system that was used was our GlassWalk™ Glass Paver (GP) system. The system was used within the renovation to create a unique appearance while still allowing natural light to transcend to the lower levels of the station. GBA completed the GlassWalk™ Structural Glass and Glass Paver systems in 2017.

 

Main Street Station: The Final Product

The unique historical features of the Main Street Station make it an amazing place to hold many different types of events. Main Street Station is currently in the top 5 of the 15 most unique wedding venues in the world, according to brides.com. The Main Street Station website states, they will continue to showcase the uniqueness of the station and create “a transportation hub and a community gathering-place.” With plans to transform the station into a multi-modal transportation center, it will remain one of Richmond, Virginias most historic buildings.

 

Contact GBA Architectural Products + Services

GBA Architectural Products & Services is a North American supplier of world-class glass block materials for interior and exterior applications. For over 30 years, the company has collaborated with professional builders and homeowners with many unique structural glass products that render beautiful and economical functionality in a broad range of scenarios.

GBA glass block products have been used in office designs, exterior claddings, walkways, and glass staircases throughout North America to admit natural light while optimizing the use of interior space.

For more information about vault lights and other glass block architecture for offices or other applications, contact GBA Architectural Products & Services.

Visit the GBA website or phone:

Read More