Decorative Cinder Blocks?

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Decorative Cinder Blocks?

Postby stacey » Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:18 pm

Does anyone have a source for decorative cinder blocks? I am referring to the ones used extensively in the 50s & 60s as fencing and architectural screens. (like the screen on the Union Planters Bank in Miami, FL http://www.agilitynut.com/modarchbank.html )

We have a hillside Eichler that does not have an atrium. We want to turn our tiny grass front yard into a more useable zen-courtyard with a four foot wall... but we don't want it to be a solid wall. We would rather use a groovy mid-century style cinder-block fence to create a 'private space' without obliterating the view or the light.

Any suggestions would be appreciated! You can contact me directly at stacey at impureacts.com or respond to this post. thank you.

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Postby MoneyPitModern » Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:28 pm

I've been exploring similar block for a part of my yard, and wasn't having much luck finding sources until I learned it is called "screen block" by the industry. Because it's so heavy and expensive to ship like all block, it seems to be made in locations all around the country. Here's a link to one block manufacturer in the San Diego area that makes a basic screen block pattern: http://www.rcpblock.com/screen_block.htm

Probably your best bet is to contact brick and block dealers in your area, and inquire as to what patterns of screen block they can supply. From what I've been able to find on the web, the variety of patterns today is nowhere near what it was 40-50 years ago.

I've been wondering what it would cost to have a mold custom made for a unique pattern of screen block. It seems the material cost wouldn't be much different than the generic version. But then again, I probably think too much. Good luck in your search, and please share with us what you learn about it.

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Postby ksjoyner » Tue Mar 07, 2006 7:00 pm

Attached is a link to a website that shows both mid century decorative block and open work brick walls. There are other examples in the complex, but I haven't taken photos of all of them yet.
http://westcliffcondos.tripod.com

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Postby ksjoyner » Tue Mar 07, 2006 7:00 pm

Sorry - go to the complex photos page and there is a fairly close up photo of one of the terrace walls.

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Postby SDR » Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:32 pm

This not-quite-on-the-level photo shows a red brick screen enclosure at a Marin County water utility facility (easy for YOU to say) -- the openings can just be made out at the top left of the wall (wish it was a color shot). This is a clever and handsome use of ordinary brick, I think. . .

Image[/img]
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Postby Joe » Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:34 pm

rather than adding decoration to an eichler, consider creative design with regular concrete blocks, as demonstrated by A. Quincy Jones did for Hallberg in Portland. Jones, at the same time, used similar treatment on the courtyard wall on the X-100 for Eichler in San Mateo...

Hallberg
Image

X-100
http://www.totheweb.com/eichler/brochur ... index.html

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Postby Futura Girl » Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:06 am

i have a book from ____

and they have a short chapter on decorative masonary screens.
they mention several companies who used to make it - i did some searching and this is what i came up with

Besser used to make decorative blocks, but they don't seem to have too many anymore...
http://www.besser.com/equipment/applica ... utypes.htm
Lacestone units are mentioned (round holey walls) - a product of soapstone duct comapny in oakland, CA - but can't find them anywhere.

there is an article by quickcrete on how to build a "Decorative Block Screen Walls" here
http://www.quikrete.com/diy/ConcreteBlo ... ction.html
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Postby SDR » Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:37 pm

I like the precise descriptions of these two block variants, as found on the Besser page linked above:

"Split face

Split face CMUs are solid or hollow units that are molded "Siamese style" and split lengthwise or crosswise by a guillotine-like machine. The CMUs are split after coming out of the kiln and before cubing. Split face CMUs have an attractive, natural rough, stone-like texture. Different aggregates and pigments provide a myriad of appearances.

Ribbed and fluted

Ribbed and fluted CMUs are produced by using special molds. Split ribbed CMUs are produced by passing the ribbed CMUs through the same splitter used for split face block. The process is the same, only the mold is changed. The texture of the split face is natural and rugged, separated by molded grooves or scores."
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This looks interesting

Postby Sartana » Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:24 pm

I just did some poking around and came across this site. May be of interest.

http://claytoneproductsinc.com/Blocks_/blocks_.html

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Postby SDR » Mon Apr 03, 2006 6:31 pm

Thanks, James -- an interesting site and amusing too. "Intruders are discouraged by the sharpness of the edges when the block is broken."

I'm intrigued by the description of "angled block" (being a big fan of louvers) -- though I don't see the effect in the illustrations provided. . .

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Postby roxy500 » Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:09 pm

This topic comes up every once in a while and it seems to be of ongoing interest. Would it be a good candidate for best of?

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Here's some links I found!

Postby xbjllb » Thu Mar 15, 2007 11:00 pm

Most of the classic styles still available... in Hawaii:

http://www.masonryhawaii.com/Manufacturers/Block/Screen%20Block%20patterns.htm


No pictures but a maker in the US:

http://www.youngblock.com/decorativeblock.htm


And Orco which was mentioned above with pics (or in another thread?):

http://www.orco.com/pr_screen.htm


And a distributor right in Laguna Nigel (near Los Angeles?)... no photos but you can use the Hawaiian link above for the style names, they are all the common names in the industry (but they do have some I haven't found photos of yet):

http://www.sepulveda.com/catalog_sepulveda/view_product.php?product=674&category=106


Hope that helps... hope I can find a maker/distributor in Canada.

Good luck!

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Screen Block photos

Postby modernphoenix » Sun Jun 17, 2007 9:37 pm

Superlitein Phoenix manufactured these blocks locally for the Phoenix Metro area. They still manufacture a limited repertoire of patterns. Here is a photo shoot of what I call their world domination headquarters on 7th street in Uptown Phoenix:

http://www.modernphoenix.net/superlite.htm

Some other great examples here
http://www.modernphoenix.net/36mtnview1.htm
http://www.modernphoenix.net/hometour/2006/jg.htm
http://www.modernphoenix.net/hometour/2 ... stinak.htm

Other local examples here under navigation Decorative and Block
http://www.modernphoenix.net/woodenfences.htm

Incidentally, some of my recent fine art has been based on screen block memories:
http://www.modernphoenix.net/phpBB2/vie ... fterimages
http://www.modernphoenix.net/phpBB2/vie ... fterimages

I love them that much!
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Postby SDR » Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:53 pm

Thanks ! What a pleasant immersion in the Arizona aesthetic -- so much indebted to the arid clime and its native flora. The archtectural and landscape material palette is all of a piece -- organic, as Mr Wright would say.

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Re: This looks interesting

Postby danny leisure » Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:54 am

Sartana wrote:I just did some poking around and came across this site. May be of interest.

http://claytoneproductsinc.com/Blocks_/blocks_.html

James


I wonder how much shipping from Barbados is.
:P

Next spring includes an extensive landscaping project with Screen Block; I'm just trying to figure out where the best place to get it from is --also considering just making an interesting stack pattern of half-block.

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Postby SDR » Sun Sep 30, 2007 11:30 am

I like the patterns that can be achieved with plain block, particularly when openings are left in the pattern. Go for it !

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Decorative Concrete Block

Postby Josquin » Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:47 pm


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Postby SDR » Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:56 pm

http://www.architectmagazine.com/galler ... 1089L4.jpg

Cool ! This is in their image gallery.
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12 blocks

Postby Josquin » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:09 am

Yes, very cool, but be forwarned.

"Victoria Meyers noted, “The computer drawings are not as convincing to me as the actual physical object, which is much less perfect. And if these things were perfect, they would not be nice. If they're imperfect, they're much nicer.â€￾"

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Postby SDR » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:32 am

That's an odd comment. Given the essential textural irregularities of virtually all masonry, the quality of the finished installation is found in the rigorous uniformity of the placement of each unit. Bad brick or block-work is immediately evident in raking light. And any serious differences between one unit (block) and another would begin to spoil the overall pattern.

I wonder what she meant ?

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Postby 5280mod » Thu Oct 11, 2007 1:22 pm

Perhaps it's just a convoluted way of saying the digital representation doesn't do justice to the organic material?
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Postby SDR » Thu Oct 11, 2007 1:26 pm

Thanks for that. This serves as an example of how a statement can be misinterpreted. . .!

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Postby Futura Girl » Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:01 am

bumping this topic to see if there are any new sources of stone screen concrete block materials.
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Postby SDR » Mon Dec 17, 2007 9:35 am

Something here -- though the blocks are probably not new. http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic ... 2360#62360

Maybe it's time to look anew at Wright's LA work of old. . .? There are a lot of newly-cast blocks -- some of them pierced ? -- at the Ennis-Brown house. Anybody been there since the recent exterior restoration ?

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Postby Futura Girl » Fri May 16, 2008 7:36 pm

here was another thread that discussed stone screen concrete blocks with some nice images here:
http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=4003

and uncle jack of www.veryvintagevegas.com SCORED big time with this resource...

http://www.a1block.com/screenwall.php4

he has been doing an amazing ongoing blog dedicated to documenting all the various stone screens in vegas.

http://veryvintagevegas.com/category/de ... k-designs/
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Postby Perks » Fri May 16, 2008 8:55 pm

I think I would practically kill to find those Bubble Up blocks to replace a couple of my cinder block walls with...
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Postby SDR » Fri May 16, 2008 9:33 pm

Yeah -- I'd never seen those before. Seems like there would be several different ways to use them, including a completely random pattern. . .

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Postby scowsa » Sun May 18, 2008 12:23 pm

bumping this topic to see if there are any new sources of stone screen concrete block materials.


Orco Block, who make a wide range of blocks, including screen blocks, and who have several SoCal locations

http://www.orco.com/pr_screen.htm
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