Publication: The Brewer and Maltser
Chicago, IL, United States
Fair Features Glass Block Building
Owens-Illinois Exhibit at Chicago's Century of Progress
Exposition a Center of Attraction
AMONG the many wonderful and astonishing exhibits now being prepared for the millions who will begin pouring into Chicago to view the Century of Progress Exposition after its opening on June 1, no single industrial display better represents the tremendous underlying spirit of enterprise virulently alive in this country than the remarkable glass-block building in course of erection by the Owens-Illinois Glass Company, Toledo, Ohio.
This unique structure, built of glass blocks, represents the latest achievement of the great organization long noted as the largest manufacturer of glass containers in the world — now extending its resourcefulness and research facilities into the industrial field. The crowning results of its efforts are exemplified in the large and colorful structure at the exposition, built of the company's latest product, colored glass blocks. This handsome building, 100 feet long and 60 feet wide, surmounted by a gorgeous tower of colored glass blocks 50 feet high, marks a new era in modern architecture and presages interesting new departures from the past traditions of the building industry; for the company's exposition building is not a mere toy to delight the visiting throngs, nor a special stunt to attract attention and notoriety.
This glass-block building, the first full-sized structure of its kind ever built, is the result of years of scientific study and planning, and represents a triumphant presentation to the world of a new type of building material, practical, colorful, versatile and economical, ready for the immediate use of industry and commerce, and already attracting the serious attention of architects and builders all over the world.
Glass Block a Practical Building Unit
Two years of intensive research and experiment were required to produce the Owens-Illinois glass block. It is a strong, six-sided building block, of plain surfaces, with a hollow center. It is made by separately pressing a five-sided unit and a lid, then hermetically sealing in the lid as the sixth side, providing an air-tight cavity within each unit.
Architects Get New Decorative Effects
Any color in the entire gamut of the spectrum is applied to these blocks, giving an immense range to their decorative possibilities. The color is applied to five sides of the flint block, the outer, or weather-surface being left plain. Under certain conditions of lighting interesting triangular shadows play through the wall cast from one unit to another by the blocks themselves. All kinds of pleasing variations in color effect result from changes in lighting conditions from without and within.
The glass-block building at the exposition makes use of all the colors of the rainbow arranged in blended combination, reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues and lavenders.
Invites New Landscaping Ideas
The beauty of the building is to be enhanced by appropriately colorful landscaping effect worked out by James W. Owen, well-known landscape architect, of Bloomington, Illinois, whose "new deal" system of landscaping will be applied to the entire Home and Industrial Arts group of structures at the exposition.
The office display room of the James W. Owen Nurseries will be located in this building. Here the visitor will find exhibits of gardening equipment and accessories, and artistic displays of new and unusual flowers and plants.
One portion of the building will be devoted to an extensive exhibit of the products of all divisions of the Owens-Illinois Glass Company — not only its various lines of bottles and other glass containers, but also important creations of its industrial division, such as the new "Dustop" glass-wool air-filter, which has brought air-cleaning equipment at one stride from the realm of costly luxuries to within the reach of the homes, industries, commercial and public buildings of the entire nation.