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 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.

Visit the GBA website or phone:

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