Volume 27, Issue 4 - JulyAugust 2013

Gimme 5

Five Product Themes that Resonated Among Exhibitors at the 2013 AIA Show

By Ellen Rogers and John Hollis

When it’s here to stay you can’t very well call it a trend. And one of the best places to find out what is trending among architects is the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) National Convention, which took place this year June 20-22 in Denver.

One big push for the glazing industry of late has been to provide products that help advance the energy performance of buildings. This year’s exhibitors did not disappoint, as many companies unveiled their latest developments created specifically with energy performance in mind.

But energy wasn’t the only hot topic at the show; architects are simply looking for anything and everything that will help their projects differentiate and standout. Here’s a look at five glazing product themes we found at the show that could help architects do just that.

Energy Savers
What’s the number-one thing architects are looking for? Energy, energy, energy.

Viracon was among the companies featuring new products developed with energy performance in mind. The company introduced its Vue 30 coating, which can achieve a solar heat gain coefficient of .18 on clear glass. Also new is the company’s Roomside low-E, a fourth-surface coated product. Used with a standard low-E coating on the number-two surface, the unit can provide U-values in line with what’s possible with a triple-glazed unit, but without the added cost.

Guardian Industries introduced its SunGuard Neutral 78/65, the newest addition to its SunGuard portfolio of low-E glass coatings. The glass has high visible light transmission, a high solar heat gain and a neutral color to help architects meet new energy codes in heating-dominated climates.

“We’re excited to offer this new solution to architects and builders looking at new construction and retrofits in the northern parts of the U.S. and Canada,” said Chris Dolan, director, commercial glass marketing.

But it’s not just about the glass. According to Mike Turner, vice president of marketing with YKK AP, framing is just as important.

“To improve the building envelope, look at framing first as that can give better thermal performance than if you just focus on the glass,” he said.

Open Up
Reaching the perfect balance between enjoying the natural beauty of the outdoors and the preferred comforts of the indoors has long been the desire of both commercial builders and residential ones alike, and suppliers and manufacturers were striving to meet that need.

Panda Windows and Doors officials were excited to showcase their latest creation, which aims to keep the outside air at bay in the door while adding virtually an unlimited view. The Las Vegas-based company’s new door can already be seen at several high-profile locations along the Vegas strip, including Steve Wynn’s Encore Resort and the trendy XS Nightclub. Charlotte-based race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is among the firm’s growing number of celebrity clients.

“We’re changing the way you see the world and bringing the outdoors in,” said Tad Shurtless, the company’s East Coast regional sales manager.

Centor, a company that has been known as a supplier of hardware for moveable glass wall systems, has moved into the market of also supplying fully finished systems. The company unveiled what it calls the first integrated moveable glass wall. As Nigel Spork, managing director, explained, integrated means all door components including locks, hardware, blinds, etc. are all built to work together.

Spork said they are continually seeking ways to connect people to the outdoors.

“When you shut the door you do not see the locks and the hardware, etc.,” he said, noting that it is all built into the door unit.

Bigger and Bigger
For the German company seele, this year’s AIA show provided an opportunity to illustrate its glass fabrication capabilities.

“I think most people in the U.S. have seen us primarily as a contract glazier, but we do have glass fabrication facilities in Germany and we want to promote those capabilities to the world as well,” said Attila Arian, president of seele Inc. And indeed the company did just that, as it featured what it called the world’s largest piece of laminated glass. The display, constructed with DuPont’s SentryGlas interlayer, stood 46-feet long and 10 ˝-feet tall.

“Our big advantage is that we are established in the U.S. installing and importing glass and that gives us credibility, so [people here] are comfortable working with us,” he added.

Arian continued, “Architects want transparency … and like the fact that glass can be used as a structural element. We’re in a very critical age where transparency is important.”

View also showcased large-format glass. Here, though, the company’s electrochromic glass was featured in 5-by-10-foot units.

“No one else is doing 5-by-10 electrochromic units,” said Jim Miller, vice president, worldwide sales. “This opens a new world [of opportunity] for architectural units. We’re seeing more and more demand for bigger glass.”

Safe and Secure
Safety and security glazing products were also on the radar for many architects at the show. Products that combine both energy and impact features also saw a lot of interest. Turner with YKK AP said its unitized wall system can incorporate not only energy performance, but also impact and blast mitigation benefits.

“[Architects] can get multiple value-added features in one product,” said Turner. He also said they have “extra, extra large windows,” up to 6- by 4-feet for the coastal/hurricane market.

“These allow for expansive views, as well as impact and thermal performance.”

Donnie Hunter, an architectural manager with Kawneer Co. Inc., agreed that safety and security glazing are becoming increasingly important. He said while it used to be only [about] government jobs—and these are still the most common—interest is expanding to other areas, such as schools.

“There’s a distinct difference in blast and bullet-resistant glazing, and [bullet-resistant] is what schools are looking at,” said Hunter, who added, “You can’t just look at replacing the glass; you need to address the entire system.”

For Rockwood, an Assa Abloy company, which manufacturers a range of door pulls for glass doors, the focus continues to be on providing aesthetic options.

“We’ve taken the pulls and created coordinating products to suite throughout the project,” said Judy Stoy, marketing communications specialist with Rockwood.

New for the company is a locking door pull that’s available in half door heights and full door heights.

“Architects are looking for aesthetics; designs that are attractive and can coordinate together,” said Stoy. “We can help them achieve [their design goals] and achieve what they are looking for.”



Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal
© 2013
Copyright Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. 
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.