Volume 38, Issue 6, June 2003

Express Yourself
AIA Convention Offers Ways and Means to Meet 
Growing Architectural Trends
by Ellen Giard Chilcoat

It’s no secret that the growing use of glass in architectural construction is a hot trend. At the recent American Institute of Architects (AIA) convention, which took place May 8-10 in San Diego, it was more than “just glass” grabbing the attention of those attending. Glass that could do something or offer something beyond mere transmittance was what they found as they walked the 145,000 square feet of exhibit space occupied by more than 720 exhibitors. According to show organizers, this year’s convention saw record participation with more than 20,000 attendees taking part in the event, up 25 percent from the previous year. At the 2002 convention in Charlotte, N.C., approximately 15,000 attended and more than 500 exhibited. From safety and security glazing products, to stylish, decorative glass to hardware and components for the increasingly popular all-glass look, it could be found at AIA.

An All-Ears Audience
With more and more companies gearing their product marketing efforts toward architects, it’s not surprising that industry players such as Pilkington, PPG, YKK, Vistawall and Wausau Window and Wall Systems opted to display their wares at the show. 

“We exhibited at the AIA show because we’ve always [placed a] high priority on design work and close relationships with designers and architects,” said Tim Nass, regional sales associate for Wausau Window and Wall Systems. Wausau found a prime way to illustrate its capabilities to architects during AIA, as an Omni hotel using its window systems was being erected directly across from the convention center. “Our goal in exhibiting was to display our design capabilities, and fortunately we had a marquis project going up right across the street, so that generated a lot of questions,” said Nass.

Glass products from companies such as Oldcastle Glass also drew much interest. The company offered a variety of products, including insulating glass, laminated glass and spandrel. According to Sue Steinberg, vice president of corporate communications, topics frequently discussed by booth visitors included security glass (blast-mitigation glass and systems, hurricane-resistant glass, bullet-resistant glass and forced-entry glass), as well as the solar performance of glass. “The world has woken up to laminated glass,” she said.

John Bush, Oldcastle’s director of laminated products and developments, agreed that attendees were interested in its capabilities.

“We had many questions concerning our security laminated glass products, especially for blast-mitigation applications,” Bush said. “We had heavy traffic all three days and received many compliments on our new booth. Overall, we felt the show was very well organized and marketed.”

Pilkington, along with its distributor Westcrowns Inc., chose the opportunity of the AIA show to announce that its Profilit™ glass is now available tempered. The translucent lineal glazing system was first introduced to the U.S. architectural design community in 1999. According to Brad Barton, a sales representative for Westcrowns, Profilit™ T was very well received during the show.

Glass Resource for Architects
With more and more companies targeting their products and services to the architectural community, what better way to reach the architect than through the Architects Guide to Glass? Published bi-annually by Key Communications Inc., publishers of USGlass magazine, the Architects Guide to Glass is designed to serve as an educational tool and resource, providing information on the latest glass products, codes and news updates and much more pertinent information.

To learn more visit www.glass.com/architect.

Fit to be Seen
Decorative glass also had a major presence at AIA.

“Glass is increasing in importance, and the design trend is to use glass everywhere possible,” said Janet Ryan, public relations manager with St. Louis-based Solutia Inc. “We’re seeing a lot of unexpected applications. We’re shocked sometimes by what we’re asked for; we’re seeing glass in a lot of unusual places.”

Solutia, a manufacturer of PVB interlayers for laminated glass, was on hand not only with its products for safety and security glazing, but also to promote its new Vanceva™ Design interlayers. The technology combines digital imaging with laminated glass.
“This year we were very excited to launch our new Vanceva Design graphic image capabilities at the AIA Expo,” said Anne Cook, architectural marketing director. “We had strong response not only from architects, but also from furniture system manufacturers and art glass companies.”

Joel Berman Glass Studios of Vancouver also chose to exhibit at AIA. “I wanted to further expose our brand of architectural glass design to the architectural community,” Joel Berman said. “I also wanted to communicate the accessibility of our products and design services.”

And, according to Berman, the experience of exhibiting paid off. “The feedback was strong,” he said. “The receptiveness of our glass was exciting. We had some interesting inquiries regarding projects and engineering design services.”

Other companies exhibiting decorative glass concepts included Think Glass of Montreal, a company that creates cast glass possibilities including textures, shapes, floors and walls. Gordon Huether of Napa, Calif., was also there. According to a Gordon Huether representative, a new trend in his work involves the integration of glass and metal.

To meet the needs of those desiring all-glass walls, several companies offered hardware and systems to make such designs reality.

W&W Glass Systems Inc. of Nanuet, N.Y., a glass and metal contractor, was on hand to represent Pilkington Planar structural glass wall systems. A slew of companies offering the hardware to create such systems were also there. Mero Structures Inc. of Menomonee Falls, Wis., exhibited with its structural systems and integrated cladding. Timm Walker, a regional sales manager for Mero, sees the industry heading toward the integration of glass and steel.

“Cable net walls are hot right now,” Walker said.

Other companies offering similar fittings and hardware included TriPyramid of Westford, Mass., Archiglaze of Italy and CHMI of Keokuk, Iowa, which is now distributing the products of Sadev of France.

Architectural Skylight Co. Inc. of Waterboro, Maine, has also added all-glass skylights and point-supported curtainwall and skylights to its offerings.

“The architects we spoke to were very excited that we are offering comprehensive solutions in the point-supported and structural glass markets—including engineering with our own in-house professional engineers,” said Francis O’Neill, vice president of sales and marketing.

DuPont Announces Winners of the 2003 Benedictus Awards
Organized by the American Institute of Architects and the International Union of Architects, and sponsored by DuPont, winners were announced for the 2003 DuPont Benedictus Awards. It its eleventh year, the awards recognize innovative uses of laminated glass.

The top honor went to Koichi Yasuda, Ken Kannari and Masao Nishioka of the Tokyo architectural firm Nikken Sekki for the design of the Pola Museum of Art in Hakone-Machi, Japan. Clear, laminated glass was used for the museum’s transparent, sloped skylight.“The skylight is the light spine of the museum,” said the architects. “Using it, we were able to create a highly transparent space despite the cold climate of the area.”

In addition, by using laminated glass architects were able to meet safety and security codes for the project. Laminated glass was also used in the structural ribs that support the sloped-glass skylight and a structural beam that supports its ledge, for the museum’s entry bridge balustrade and a bus stop outside the museum.

Two category winners were also chosen, one for an industrial application and one for education.

In the Industrial category, professors Fritz Auer and Carlo Weber of Auer + Weber + Architekten in Munich, Germany, won for their protective housing at the Petuel Tunnel in Munich.

In the Education category Armand Grüntuch and Almut Ernst of Grüntuch Ernst Architekten in Berlin, Germany, won for the Schule am Mummelsoll school for special-needs children in Berlin-Hellersdorf, Germany.

The Schule am Mummelsoll. photo: Mamoru IshiguroThe Petuel Tunnel. photo: Stefan Muller-NaumannThe Pola Museum of Art. photo: Gruntuch Ernst

Solutia Announces 2003 Design Award Winners
St. Louis-based Solutia Inc. announced the winners of its 2003 Design Awards. According to Solutia, the competition pays tribute to architects and designers who have used the company’s architectural glazing products in innovative ways. Entries were judged on:

• The significance of the design in regards to new and developing applications of laminated glass;

• The degree of attention paid to the benefits of laminated glass; and

• The creative use of laminated glass and the overall aesthetic appeal.
Winners were:
Oasis 21
Civic category: Oasis 21, Nagoya, Japan. Architect – Hideki Casai, Obayashi Corp; laminator/glazing contractor – Romag.

For this project the architects created an elevated glass lake made from glass laminated with Solutia’s Saflex®. The project featured a “glass sky” filled with water and surrounded by a glass walkway.

Garden Room in Glass.Residential category: Garden Room in Glass. Designer –Architekturstudio BULANT & WAILZER; laminator – Ekelt Glas GmbH.

Located in Austria, judges said the home’s garden room in glass was an adventurous exploration of the structural capabilities of laminated glass. It featured supporting glass beams and columns created with Saflex.

South Court Building/New York Public Library.Industrial category: South Court Building/New York Public Library, New York City.
Architects – Lewis Brody, Davis Brody Bond LLP; Laminator - Depp Glass.

The project features laminated glass with Solutia’s Saflex and Vanceva Design interlayers to “allow liberal access to natural light and as a delicate way to complement the existing structure.

Glass Store.Interiors: Glass Store, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Architect – Brunete Fraccaroli; laminator -Santa Marina Vitrage.
The showroom features a configuration of glass to illustrate how doors, skylights, furniture, floors, bathrooms and other elements can be integrated into a space. Glass used was laminated with Solutia’s Vanceva products.

The two honorable mentions went to Campus 2000, a university project in Germany and the New York Westin Hotel.

What Do You Want?
With so many companies with ties to the glass industry taking part in the AIA show (surrounded by everything from mailboxes to stairs to [really] the kitchen sink), what is it that architects want, and what brought so many from the glass industry there?

“Architects want flexible design possibilities and durable products,” said Greg Saroka, president and chief executive officer of Calgary-based Goldray. “They’re wanting more and more decorative glass. Sandblasting is being replaced by lower-maintenance, lower cost options, such as satin-etched glass,” he added.

“Architects are looking for more ways to express their visions and at the same time the corporate identity of their clients,” said Berman. “Other trends in terms of glass design are calling for more three-dimensional textures and a wider availability of design-glass products.” 

For Charles Barker of Vistawall, taking part in the AIA show was important from an educational perspective—education of the architect, that is.

“Understanding glass and glazing is not the same as it was ten years ago. Architects need to be more in touch with manufacturers’ reps,” Barker said. “There needs to be more of a focus on design criteria and making sure it’s correct for the area for which they’re designing. If you’re going to go in with storefront or curtainwall, you need to be sure it fits the project’s criteria.”

O’Neill said that participation in the AIA show is important from a product-promotional standpoint.

“It’s important for us to exhibit at AIA in order to promote our products, especially any new products we have developed and enhancements to existing ones,” O’Neill said. “It’s equally important that we get to visit with many of the architects with whom we have worked over the preceding year.”

“Overall it was a pretty positive show. Sometimes it’s tough to gage because there are those who stop by just to get their cards swiped, so we don’t judge the show by the traffic,” said Nass. “We judge by the quality of those who stop by and show a general interest in our products and capabilities, and from that standpoint we felt it was a good show; judging purely on traffic can be misleading.”

The 2004 AIA Show is scheduled to take place June 10-12 in Chicago. 

Want More Info?
To learn more about the products from those companies mentioned in this article, visit them at the following web addresses:

Archiglaze: www.archiglazeusa.com

Architectural Skylight Co.: www.archsky.com

CHMI: www.chmi.com

DuPont: www.dupont.com

Gordon Huether: www.gordonhuether.com

Joel Berman Studios: www.jbermanglass.com

Mero Structures Inc.: www.mero.com

Oldcastle Glass: www.oldcastleglass.com

Pilkington: www.pilkington.com

PPG: www.ppg.com

Solutia: www.solutia.com

Think Glass: www.thinkglass.com

TriPyramid: www.tripyramid.com

Vistawall: www.vistawall.com

W & W Glass: www.wwglass.com

Wausa : www.wausauwindow.com

Westcrowns Inc.: www.westcrowns.com

YKK: www.ykk-ap.com

Ellen Giard Chilcoat is editor of USGlass magazine.



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