What is a windscreen?

A windscreen can be defined as a structure or shelter that provides a buffer between you and the elements. They are perfect for residential, commercial and transit applications. Rain, snow, high winds and other elements can be a threat to outdoor seating and transit waiting environments. By providing those who are using the area with protection from outdoor elements, it can make the overall experience much more enjoyable and safer.

Types of windscreens

The design of the windscreen varies based on the application that it is being used for. Many rooftop bars and restaurants may use a windscreen as protection from high winds but also as a barrier for high-level areas. Similar to rooftop terraces, windscreens can be used on balconies and patios for multi-level buildings. The most common windscreen we deal with here at GBA Architectural Products + Services are used in conjunction with transit services across the country.

Transit windscreens provide waiting areas for passengers that can allow easy access to buses, trains, and ferries. It is important that the passengers that are waiting at these windscreens are provided with an area where they feel safe and secure. It’s also important that transit visitors are protected from rain, wind, and in some regions, snow. These concerns are all addressed when the structure is being designed. Architects and designers then decide on building materials that can meet the requirements needed. That is when the use of glass block is determined to be ideal.

Why choose glass block for windscreen?

Finding a material that is versatile and durable for exterior applications can be challenging. When building these windscreens, companies want to use materials that are long-lasting, low maintenance and cost effective. Glass block is known to be just that. With proper treatment and glazing, glass block can meet the building requirements needed. GBA supplies and installs glass block that is scratch resistant, shatter resistant, and graffiti resistant. Also, these products do not discolor and can easily be cleaned. Not only is glass block easy to maintain, it also can provide comfort where safety is a concern.

When it comes to transit windscreens, the safety and security of those waiting must be greatly considered. Security is related to an individual’s feeling of well-being. The security that one feels at a transit windscreen can be compromised by poor lighting and visibility conditions. A positive of using glass block as a building material for windscreens is the ability to maximize daylight. The use of artificial light in waiting stations can be reduced while still providing enough light for waiting passengers to feel safe. Glass block, such as VISTABRIK®, allows for 80% light transmittance. Not only does glass block allow a substantial amount of natural light to be let in during the day, it also provides a great amount of visibility to and from the street when artificially lit at night. Visibility to the inside of the windscreen can provide passengers with peace of mind knowing that those around them can be aware of what happens inside the station. Those using and waiting at transit stations also want to be able to see the bus or train approaching the station.

Windscreens completed by GBA Architectural Products + Services

Over the years, GBA has completed a number of windscreen projects that have included glass block. Listed below are a few of our favorites!

Cortlandt Station is located in Lower Manhattan under the intersection of Greenwich Street and Cortlandt Way on the IRT Broadway – Seventh Line of the New York City Subway.

Cortlandt Station

Hoboken Transit Terminal is an intermodal passenger station in Hoboken, Hudson County, New Jersey. It provides services to commuter rails, rapid transport, light rail, ferry and bus service.

HBLR - 1

Junction Boulevard Station in Corona, Queens. It is an express station on the IRT Flushing Line of New York City Subway, located at the intersection of Junction Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue.

Junction Boulevard Station

SEPTA – Colmar Station is located at the intersection of Bethlehem Pike and Walnut Street in Colmar, PA.


SEPTA – Tulpehocken Station is located on Tulpehocken Street in Philadelphia, PA.

Tulpehocken Station, SEPTA Philadelphia, PA


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 stairways throughout North America to admit natural light while optimizing the use of interior space.

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

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Tags: Transportation, Glass Block