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GBCA Facade Replacement

Philadelphia, PA
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Project Details

The General Building Contractors Association (GBCA) makes its home in the 1961 former James W. Baird Savings & Loan Association Building, from which it provides advocacy, networking, safety, education, and training to more than 250 member contracting companies. At the time it was built, the building demonstrated innovative design techniques, including a clear-span, waffle-slab concrete structure and a curtain wall with glass butt-glazed directly to the concrete. However, after 50+ years, the facade showed its age. GBCA engaged BKP to replace the system. BKP’s design for the GBCA facade replacement began with an eye toward energy efficiency and took inspiration from midcentury and modern glass box architecture, including the Apple stores. The architectural team wanted today’s solution to be as cutting-edge as the original design. An aluminum-framed curtain wall was selected with butt-glazed insulated glass in oversize pieces. The system lacks vertical mullions for transparency to the GBCA lobby and board room. Passers-by have direct views to the classic midcentury interior aesthetic of polished marble floors and oak-paneled walls. Viracon spandrel glass covers the waffle slab intersections. The four-sided spandrel glass is etched with a silkscreen pattern on each side. The street-facing side features an etched GBCA logo for dramatic branding.

Media Coverage

Architectural Glass Institute: Case Study

Read more on Glass on Web: GBCA HQ Facade Replacement

  • Client

    General Building Contractors Association

  • Cost


  • Size

    1,000-square-foot facade

Images © Jeffrey Totaro

“It is 1,000 times different from the old curtain wall. For a small building, it now really stands out. You couldn’t really see inside before or know GBCA was there; now you can’t miss it.”