Volume 45, Issue 6 - June 2010


Miami Heat

Miami always has a figurative cultural heat about it, but as I write this, it is also searing literally as thousands of architects are still sweating their way across the city for the annual AIA National Convention.

Glass industry participation was strong, though not overwhelming. And among those exhibitors one of the most popular topics, rather than trend-spotting, seemed to Leon-spotting. The former Arch CEO popped up in a number of booths on the show floor.

Others also made their presence felt. Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope had a large presence on the floor and Guardian provided education in its space. PPG, Pilkington and and Viracon also had stands.

The top five trends on the AIA show floor were as follows:

1. Advanced hurricane-resistant products: These products have moved beyond just keeping the glass intact to keeping water out all together. While older systems worked to channel water back out once it got in, these new systems don’t allow water to penetrate at all;

2. Decorative metals: Metals are in renaissance with some attractive new technologies that allow advanced decoration. Some very sharp new technologies appeared on the floor;

3. Energy-efficient products: Everyone is touting their new “energy-efficient” products even if they are really old products with a new name. “It’s brand-new and it’s really the ultimate in energy-efficiency technology,” said one exhibitor proudly promoting his new innovation (which was a ceiling fan).

4. Newly operable windows: Windows that tilt, turn, twist and might do summersaults if you asked all were on display in an effort to make sure they can be opened to use air flow rather than HVAC systems (see #3 above.)

5. Movable glass walls: Capitalizing on the outdoor room fad, more exhibitors brought their movable disappearing glass walls, showcasing their use in restaurants, institutions and homes.

My favorite moment of the conference came when I visited Pilkington’s spiffy new booth in the middle of the trade show floor. On display there was the company’s Pyrostop fire-rated product shown after burning. “We exposed it to fire for just under its rating time,” said a booth representative. “You know, in all the years I have been writing about fire-rated glazing I have never seen the product after it’s been exposed to fire,” I said, looking at the charred, twisted mass of blackened cracked ceramic in front of me (but still securely in the frame, of course). “It’s really something.”

“Certainly is,” he answered, without missing a beat. “It’s been one of the most popular things in our booth today. I have quite a number of architects who like the effect and want us to provide quotes on it.”

So forget the Atlanticas™ and the Sunguards™ and the Vanceva® interlayer. Specified soon by an architect near you: charbroiled glass.

Extra-crispy, anyone?

P.S. For a slide show of pictures from the AIA show, visit www.usglassmag.com/slideshow/AIA20100615.html.



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