Berstein Management, located in the Metropolitan DC area, is a regional leader in real estate management and development. Started in 1953 by Norman Berstein, they hold a portfolio of over 80 properties with 3.5 million square feet of commercial space and nearly 5,000 apartments. One of their properties is 2100 Connecticut Avenue in the Kalorama area of Northwest DC.
Situated North of Dupont Circle, the historic neighborhood is home to many influential people from media and politics. Much of the worlds embassies to the United States surround the area.
Sitting on the "grand avenue," 2100 Connecticut Avenue was built in 1941 in the Art Deco Style. Each apartment had a glass block window with an opaque fluted design to allow generous light into the living space. This design was extremely popular in that era. The existing glass block, being over 70 years old, had reached the end of its life cycle. This issue was the reason Bernstein Management contacted GBA Architectural Products + Services.
GBA went to the site and discovered that the block was a specially made radial block. To meet the requirements of the Historical Preservation Office, the block had to be replaced in kind. That required new molds to be made since this radial block had been discontinued prior to the renovation. A radial block is a glass block with a larger outside face than inside face. This allows the blocks to be laid in a tighter than normal radius, while keeping consistent interior and exterior head joints.
In addition, the mortar had to match existing color and texture. The existing steel frame had to be remediated, prepped, and recoated to maintain a similar appearance. It also had to meet manufacturers specifications to ensure proper performance for the next 70 years. This is what GBA has done and continues to do for our clients.
GBA went to work with the Bernstein project management team. Together, we received approval on all materials and components needed to perform the work. The next hurdle was the actual execution. Keeping in mind that 2100 Connecticut is in an upscale neighborhood, landscaped meticulously and inhabited by many large flowering cherry, dogwood, and maple trees - our work had to be performed in over 50 fully furnished and occupied apartments.
Through exhaustive planning and communication, the job went off with minimal impact on the tenants and neighborhood. The result was termed "a complete success," and GBA is proud to restore the building's history with the technology from a new era.