No longer banished to basement and bathroom windows and warehouses, glass block now commands the spotlight, embraced by architects as a key element of their designs. Available in a multitude of patterns, textures, and tints--hollow or solid--it offers designers infinite options. Glass block is used in straight, curved, and serpentine walls for its ability to transmit or diffuse light, reveal or distort images. Architects also choose glass block for practical reasons. The high mass of glass block reduces sound transmission. In addition, with more thermal resistance than pane glass, the material can increase or reduce solar heat gain. In the following paragraphs, several architects discuss why they've selected glass block for particular applications.