Glass Block is Making a Comeback in the Architectural World

Glass block has progressed beyond the simple, functional applications of past decades to become a chic, elegant, and energy efficient architectural feature for many interiors and exteriors. Designers and architects are discovering creative new ways to capitalize on glass block’s light filtering qualities, durability, and versatility. Now available in a vast array of colors, textures, and degrees of transparency, high-quality glass block is being used in ways that were never considered in the past. New, beautiful, and iconic new structures around the world employ glass block to create comfortable, well-lighted interiors and striking, beautifully imagined structures outside.

According to ABNewswire, market researchers have determined that the demand for glass block will increase by a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 7% by 2022.

Glass block is not only for walls and ceilings but are frequently used for flooring to allow light to pass from one building level to the next.

Advantages of Glass Block in Architecture

In addition to offering a beautiful array of colors and interesting light diffusion characteristics, glass block boasts many other advantages over other building materials. These include:

  • Natural Light Admission: Studies have proven that the availability of abundant natural light enhances the morale and improves individual performance.
  • Energy Efficiency: By allowing light to permeate from room to room and even from one level to the next, less energy and fewer artificial light sources are required to illuminate homes and buildings adequately.
  • Soundproof: Glass block offers low sound conductivity and provides greater privacy and noise obstruction than traditional wall structures.
  • Fireproof: Glass block does not ignite, unlike wood siding, paneling, and other typical construction materials.
  • Low Maintenance, Easy to Clean: Simply wipe the glass and brush away any accumulated dirt from mortar joints.
  • Security: While some glass block is virtually bullet-proof, a typical block is far stronger than ordinary glass windows. This quality is particularly essential for the basement and lower level windows which vandals tend to break and enter more easily. Glass block is even used in high-security installations because of its strength and transparency.
  • Durability: Glass block will endure as long as the rest of the building. Glass block is scratch resistant and may be specified to be bullet-proof.
  • Space Enhancement: The openness created by allowing abundant light to flow from room to room and from the floor above or below establishes a sense of more significant space. No area needs to feel completely “blocked off” from the rest of the building.
  • Sustainable: While the energy efficiency resulting from a reduction in artificial lighting and energy has been noted, glass block also acts as an excellent insulator thereby reducing the power required to heat and air condition buildings.

Glass block is a more sustainable material than steel or masonry. The principal ingredient of glass block is sand, a highly available and easily acquired material. Compared to natural rock and metals, the production of glass requires less mining and fuel to produce and transport.

The Many Applications of Glass Block

Exteriors

Beautiful and elegant glass block may serve many purposes in homes and places of business. Glass block has been used for exterior surface claddings of buildings such as with GBA Architectural Products + Services’ use of 2,946 square feet of glass block in St. Anne’s Warehouse, a Brooklyn performance center. The Stillwell Avenue MTA Station in New York City features an entry walkway with over 300 curvilinear feet of VISTABRIK® glass brick depicting exciting and whimsical art.

In other parts of the world, glass block has been a material of choice for some of the most striking works of architecture. Seves Glass Block, an essential supplier to GBA Architectural Products + Services, has assisted in the design and development of several award-winning, virtually all-glass structures that combine science and art including:

These unique glass block structures and more stand as examples of the style, functionality, and sustainability of glass block as a primary architectural component.

Interior Walls: Transparency, Privacy, and Security

Interior walls made of translucent glass block allow natural light to spread throughout office buildings creating a lighter, more productive environment. Occupants, even in interior areas, have the feeling of being situated near a window as the light permeates individual working areas.

While the glass block allows light, a more translucent glass block texture and design will still provide privacy.

In a security situation, as with GBA’s Howard Young Correctional Institute, in Wilmington, Delaware, glass block is perfect for providing security while admitting abundant light throughout. One thousand pieces of high-security glass block were installed by GBA professionals with cast-in-place construction and rebar reinforcement.

Walkways

Walkways and stairs made from glass block and metal grids can handle walking, running, jumping or even stomping without a problem. GBA Architectural Products + Services creates high traffic exterior walkways and stairs, fire-rated glass floors, glass decks, and walkable skylights. Ready with many combinations of glass block and paver products, GBA Architectural Products + Services can provide the right solutions for any challenge.

Basement and Ground Level Windows for Security

Durable, stable glass block basement windows provide plenty of natural light to basements without jeopardizing the security of the home. Vandals will recognize the glass cannot be penetrated and move on.

Contact GBA Architectural Products + Services

Glass block and the many variations of shape, color, and function have become essential elements in architecture today.

GBA Architectural Products + Services is a leader in glass block and brick architecture for homes and businesses. GBA experts collaborate with home and business owners from all over the United States to create or recreate new structures with glass block. Offering structural glass, a wide range of glass block products, and LightWise Architectural Windows, GBA can help owners to create an imaginative design for their structures.

For more information, contact the GBA professionals at:

  • Midwest Office: (877)-280-7700
  • East Coast: (212)-255-5787
  • West Coast: (213)-634-7050