Facade Tectonics Forum in Chicago

Building Blocks will attend the Facade Tectonics Forum: Chicago next month. The morning event is broken into three distinct parts: the impact of fenestration on thermal performance, digital workflows, and wind effects on tall buildings. Sessions will be given by individuals from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Thornton Tomasetti, Schüco, and Gensler, among others. It will be hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology.


Windy City Skins:

Building Facades Where The Hawk Wind Blows

May 23, 2017


IIT Herman Hall

3241 South Federal Street

Chicago, IL 60616

Register here to attend.

Daily Work Stop at Hogan for Mice and Fish

Chicago, IL (April 2017) – The O.T. Hogan building is part of the Northwestern University campus. It is one of three buildings dedicated to the study of biological sciences. Its Brutalist architecture features an unusual four-leaf clover-like footprint. The building was designed in the 1960’s by Walter Netsch during his tenure at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. It is an excellent example of his Field Theory; rotating squares to create complex geometries. Limestone panels and aluminum window walls twist around the center.


The entire sixth floor is comprised of greenhouse pods. Building Blocks has been contracted to replace the exterior window walls of these greenhouse rooms. The unique geometry of Hogan has provided an engaging project. A more unexpected challenge presented itself after windows had been selected and installation planning began.


The biological sciences department house their mice and fish in the Hogan building. These animals have specific breeding habits that are sensitive to the particular vibrations and audio frequencies produced by window replacement. As a result, the installation schedule this summer has been arranged to allow a work stop from 8:30 am to 10:00 am every day. This way, the building improvements will not disrupt the mice and fish or alter the results of studies that are underway.


Restoration of Chicago’s City Hall Begins

Building Blocks is working with IW&G to replace an estimated 600 pieces of terra cotta on Chicago’s century old City Hall building. Nearly half of the facade replacement pieces are designated for a band above the 11th floor windows. Building Blocks previously worked on the separate but identical Cook County building a decade ago. Knowledge gained from the Cook County project will help the team stick to their aggressive schedule for City Hall.


Presentation at Facades+ New York City


Building Blocks has again been asked to speak at the Facades+ conference, this time in New York City. Kevin Miske, President of Building Blocks, will join Jared Della Valle of Alloy and Alberto Franceschet of Permasteelisa to discuss reclad planning processes and projects in a session titled, Overclad and Reclad in NYC: New Materials in Rehabilitation Projects.


Facades+ New York City

April 6-7, 2017


Register here with our code for discounted admission.

Discount code: DDNYC17


Guest Speaker at SAIC

Matt Seymour of Building Blocks, spoke about his work in masonry restoration to a group of historic preservation students at his alma mater, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), on Friday, February 17, 2017. Matt shared his knowledge of the GFRC and terra cotta restoration process and provided a presentation about the ongoing restoration at 125 S Clark in Chicago.  Students then had the opportunity to view the project from Federal Plaza and ask Matt about his experiences after graduation.


Matt has managed exterior brick, terra cotta, and stone restoration projects to local and federal preservation standards. He earned his Master of Science in Historic Preservation from SAIC in 2011 and is a member of the Landmarks Illinois Skyline Council.


New Advisory Board Member

Brendan Deely

Advisory Board

Building Blocks is pleased to welcome Brendan Deely to the Advisory Board. Brendan is former President and CEO of L&W Supply Corporation and former Senior Vice President of USG Corporation.


He has 27+ years of diversified leadership within global corporations, publicly traded companies, and mid-cap specialty manufacturing and distribution businesses. His experience in industrial, commercial, and consumer markets, as well as his reputation for value creation as a CEO, Corporate Director, and member of board and executive committees, is an excellent addition to the Advisory Board.

Lunch & Learn at Suffolk Construction

Building Blocks discussed the benefits and applications of Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) architectural products at a Lunch & Learn session for Suffolk Construction staff. The session was held on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.


Building Blocks provides education sessions for engineers and facade consultants in addition to AIA Continuing Education courses for practicing architects. See here for more information about course offerings.


Presentation at Facades+ Miami


Kevin Miske, President of Building Blocks, will speak alongside Angel Suarez of Perkins + Will and Trevor Barret of Physical Security Hurricane Wall at the Facades+ conference in Miami this month. Their session, Miami Matures: High-Performance Facade Design for an Evolving Market, is a crash course on the guiding principles of high-performance facade design.


The session will cover the attributes of high-performance facades, methods of precipitation management, flexibility of systems, performance analyzation of curtain wall system drawings, and considerations for evaluating cost vs. performance of a high-performance system. More information about the session and the overall conference can be found in the program.


Facades+ Miami

January 26-27, 2017