Historic Glass Block Restoration

SEVES, Glass Block, Historic Glass Block Renovation

Glass Block Renovations

There are so many reasons why an architect, home owner, or designer would choose glass block for a project.  Glass block offers a beautiful, clean aesthetic while being affordable.  Another reason to incorporate glass block is to replace any existing glass block.  When it comes to glass block replacement, GBA is renowned for our remediation expertise and ability to match the existing glass block.  

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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:

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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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