Let in the Light
Interior Glass Brings Opportunities, Challenges
b y S h a w n M c C o r d
cross the building industry and
in all vertical markets, the ar-
chitectural and design commu-
nity has been leading a trend in glass
interiors. To provide more open and
inviting spaces for users, they’re re-
questing interior systems with tall,
thick glass. They recognize glass as a
versatile building material that creates
a focal point when entering a space, es-
pecially when large amounts of glass
are enhanced by color and graphics.For
businesses looking to make a statement
with their interior design, impressive
glass interiors can serve as a powerful
marketing and branding tool.
Applications of interior glass continue to evolve
in the office sector as benefits are realized.
thinner than in more traditional glass WHATWILLTHEFUTUREHOLD?
The increasing prevalence of renova- interior solutions.
tion work in metropolitan areas, com-
I predict the trend toward taller,
While that’s not an issue in fixed appli- thicker glass with shorter,thinner rails,
bined with higher education’s desire to cations, ADA codes require maintaining will continue and evolve. At my com-
mimic the facilities of the corporate a 4-inch tapered rail at the bottom edge pany, we see growing interest from the
businesses in which many students will of a pivot or hinged door.Some architects architectural and design community in
ultimately work, is helping guide the find that unappealing and decide to go in products that will enable them to cre-
trend. Many remodeling design plans a different direction, choosing either ate more open, collaborative work-
call for the extension of ceilings to ten- smaller rail heights or patch-fitting doors, spaces that allow natural light to flow
to 12-feet heights to expand spaces and as the ADA Code is enforced differently freely through them. In addition, the
allow in more light.In response,the In- throughout the country.
LEED benefits of glass as part of a sus-
ternational Building Code (IBC) has en- Companies in the hardware manu- tainability strategy present a strong in-
acted new rules requiring that glass facturing industry are now tasked with centive to incorporate more glass into
walls and doors extending to heights as developing products to accommodate the design of new buildings and in ren-
low as 8 feet have glass that’s ⁄
8- to ¾- the thicker glass for both pivoting and ovations. I expect increased workplace
inch thick. So there’s a regulatory com- sliding doors. Sliding doors, in particu- productivity, a better sense of commu-
ponent to the trend as well. lar, present a challenge because most are nity within organizations, energy effi-
While the aesthetic appeal of tall,thick top hung. Therefore, hardware needs to ciency, and environmental friendliness
glass offers many benefits to building oc- effectively support the weight of the to collectively contribute to this trend
cupants and visitors, the trend has also thicker glass, while maintaining the becoming more of a standard rather
brought forth some challenges.
frameless appearance customers want. than a short-lived fad. s
Construction costs also rise as a
direct result of taller,thicker glass.
Architects continue to look for the As you eclipse ten-foot ceilings,
sleekest, thinnest lines when it comes you must explore if engineering of
to framing glass interiors, regardless the wall will be required or if it will
of height. And in the interest of pro- be necessary to add a structural
viding a clean, frameless look, they’re wall component to accommodate
asking for rails that are shorter and the weight of the thicker glass.
S h a w n M c C o r d is the
director of sales for DORMA
Interior Division based in
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | April 2016