Hogan challenges

Hogan Building Restoration Faces Challenges from Mice and Fish

Evanston, IL – 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. The building’s Brutalist architecture features an unusual four-leaf clover-like footprint. It was designed in the 1960’s by Walter Netsch during his tenure at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Furthermore, it is an excellent example of his Field Theory; rotating squares to create complex geometries. Limestone panels and aluminum window wall twists around the center.


Building Blocks is contracted to replace the exterior window walls of the sixth floor. This entire floor is greenhouse pods. As a result, the unique geometry of Hogan provides an engaging project. Furthermore, an unexpected challenge presented itself after the windows were selected and installation planning began. The unusual challenge has nothing to do with the building itself and has everything to do with what goes on inside it.


The biological sciences department house their mice and fish in the Hogan building. The breeding habits of these animals are sensitive to the vibrations and audio frequencies produced by window replacement. As a result, the installation schedule this summer was arranged to allow a work stop from 8:30 am to 10:00 am every day. This prevents the building improvements from disrupting the mice and fish or altering the results of scientific studies underway.


Chicago City Hall restoration

Chicago City Hall Restoration Begins

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


Chicago City Hall and Cook County Building

New York skyline in the evening

Presentation at Facades+ New York City


New York, NY – Building Blocks will again speak at a Facades+ conference, this time in New York City. Kevin Miske, President of Building Blocks, joins Jared Della Valle of Alloy and Alberto Franceschet of Permasteelisa. They will discuss reclad planning processes and projects in a session titled, Overclad and Reclad in NYC: New Materials in Rehabilitation ProjectsThe Architects Newspaper hosts the Facades+ New York conference.


Facades+ New York City

April 6-7, 2017


Register here with our code for discounted admission.

Discount code: DDNYC17


Washington square mockup

601 Washington Mockup Complete

Miami Beach, FL –  Our facade mockup for 601 Washington Ave is complete. The project is a new development in Miami’s South Beach. The mockup pulls together all of the building’s facade elements into one panel. It incorporates glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC), windows, and insulation. Owners and architects approve this mockup prior to construction. Morris Adjmi Architects is the architect together with Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe as the architect of record.


Building Blocks will furnish and install the unitized glass fiber reinforced concrete and window facade. GFRC is a Miami-Dade Historic Preservation Board approved construction material. The completion of the 601 Washington Ave mockup is a key step towards the realization of a final building. To learn more about our involvement in this project see here.

Guest speaker SAIC

Matt Seymour is Guest Speaker at SAIC

Chicago, IL – Matt Seymour spoke today at his alma mater, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). He shared his masonry restoration work with a group of historic preservation students. Matt shared his knowledge of the glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) and terra cotta restoration process. He also gave 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 terra cotta, brick, and stone facade restoration projects to local and federal preservation standards. He earned his Master of Science in Historic Preservation from SAIC in 2011. Matt is also a member of the Landmarks Illinois Skyline Council.


Chicago skyline in black and white

Lizzie Amundsen Joins the Team

Lizzie Amundsen

Lizzie Amundsen

Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Chicago, IL – Lizzie Amundsen joins the Building Blocks team as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. She is formerly the Co-Founder and Director of a museum app and Associate Director of a media company. Previously, she worked as a gallerist and a curator. Lizzie has over 10 years in marketing, sales, and business operations in the creative industry.

Chicago skyline in black and white

Brendan Deely Joins the Advisory Board

Brendan Deely

Brendan Deely

Advisory Board

Chicago, IL – Building Blocks welcomes Brendan Deely to the Advisory Board. Formerly, Brendan was President and CEO of L&W Supply Corporation and Senior Vice President of USG Corporation.


He has nearly 30 years of diversified leadership within global corporations, publicly traded companies, and mid-cap specialty manufacturing and distribution businesses. Above all, we value his experience in industrial, commercial, and consumer markets. Brendan has a reputation for value creation as a CEO, Corporate Director, and also as a board member. He is an excellent addition to our Advisory Board.

Suffolk Construction

Lunch & Learn at Suffolk Construction

Miami, FL – Building Blocks discusses the benefits and applications of glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) architectural products at Suffolk Construction. The Lunch & Learn session is Wednesday, February 8, 2017.


We are an American Institute of Architects (AIA) approved provider of continuing education. As a result, we give Lunch & Learn presentations for practicing architects. We also provide continuing education for contractors and engineers. Specifically, we teach sessions about GFRC and terra cotta. See more information about the AIA CEU courses we offer here.

Miami skyline

Kevin Miske Speaks at Facades+ Miami


Miami, FL – 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