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.  

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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.

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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? 

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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.

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Glass Block Windscreens

Transportation, Glass Block

What is a windscreen?

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Restoring Glass Block Windows Youngstown, Ohio

Glass Block

Restored Glass Block Windows Youngstown, Ohio

Some of our favorite ventures are renovating projects in our local area. Being a company located in the Cleveland/Akron area, we were thrilled to be chosen for an assignment in Youngstown, Ohio, only 65 miles from our office.

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Zero Lot Line Construction

Fire Rated Glass Block, Glass Block

Zero Lot Line Construction

What is a Zero Lot Line House?

A zero lot line house is a piece of residential property where the house comes up or very near to the edge of the property line. Zero lot lines typically contain one side yard, whereas traditional houses include two side yards – one on either side of the house. A variety of properties can be considered zero lot lines, including town homes, garden homes, and row houses.

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Historic Glass Block Renovations: Knapp's Centre

Glass Block, Historic Glass Block Renovation

Historic Glass Block Renovations: Knapp's Centre


Owner: The Eyde Company

Architect: Quinn Evans Architects

General Contractor: Granger Construction

Mason: Schiffer Mason Contractors, Inc.


Knapp's Centre: The History

So many of the buildings we drive past have a history explaining why they were built and what they came to be.  Knapp’s Centre is one of those historic buildings, built in 1937 as a home for the main department store J.W. Knapp Company in Lansing, Michigan.  The 190,000 square foot building was constructed using alternating bands of yellow macotta and prismatic glass block.  At the time Knapp’s was built, it was known to be one of the most modern building’s in the Midwest. 

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Historic Glass Block Renovations: Hecht Warehouse

Glass Block, Historic Glass Block Renovation

Historic Glass Block Warehouse Renovations: Hecht Warehouse

Architect: Antunovich Associates

General Contractor: McCullough Construction, LLC.

Owner: Douglas Development


Hecht Warehouse: The History

Hecht’s was one of Washington D.C.’s oldest and most successful large-scale, locally-owned retail store.  The department store itself was located on the corner of 7th Street in an “American Gothic” building.  Hecht’s offered an assortment of goods for their customers.  In 1934, Hecht’s department store installed the first escalators in Washington.  As Hecht’s department store continued to grow, taking over most of the block, they sought to move most of its service operations to a new Art Deco building in 1937.  This new building became the central warehouse for Hecht’s department stores.  

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Top 5 Glass Block Architectural Projects of 2019

Glass Block, Structural Glass, Project

GBA Architectural Products + Services had a very exciting 2019 as we worked on many exciting architectural projects, bringing new life to buildings with the addition of glass block and structural glass. We had the privilege of working with some of the best architects and contractors in the world. All of the projects we participated in were exciting and complex challenges that left us with a rewarding feeling when completed.

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