GPD Closes with Focus on Technology

Charles Bostick of Seele Sedak & Co. used the final day of Glass Performance Days (GPD), which took place last week in Tampere, Finland, to detail the latest in glass technology and projects completed over the last two years. He noted that fantastic things have been going on in architectural glazing. Making his point with a series of telling pictures and diagrams, Bostick said that progress in the last few years has meant further advancement of developments in glazing achieved during the first decade of this century. According to the presentation he gave, there is an effort to standardize the designing, processing and use of oversize glass units, structural glass elements, more advanced connectors and more complex glazing units in regards to geometries, coatings, surface treatments and milling. This, he said, promises to be the base for jumping to the next wave of glazing innovations. The task at hand is to inform the designers of the possibilities and let them come to the glazing industry to find what they need for their visions.

According to Bostick, designers have been setting the pace with their ideas and demands for more glass that is bigger, more complicated, more refined.

He also discussed some of the changes since GPD 2011, which include, for example, larger glass units, improvements in stair Stringer Beams, the availability of large unit processing as well as the experience in fabrication and installation and “jumbo size glass.” Bostick said each played significant roles as the industry overcame the challenges of overcoming brittleness in connecting glass to glass while having the connections disappear within the transparency of the glass. Likewise, he said initial point fittings laminated into structural glass units were tested in the year 2002 with one side of the fitting laminated and one side done as a more traditional through the glass bolted connections. In the past two years the choices have been expanded, he said.

As an example, he cited a new glass cube structure (think Apple Store) that is fully laminated with fittings where both sides of the fitting are laminated within the two glass units to be joined.

This connection concept also was used in the stair stringer in the glass stair in Hamburg, where the 100 or so tread connectors were buried as a 57-mm round “nut” with threaded hole in the five layers of glass. The only connector not laminated within was the stair stringer to upper slab connection where the loads did not allow laminated fittings.

Bostick also said inquiries regarding large size glazing have been on the rise.

Interesting to note is that the fabrication tolerances for extra-large size glazing tend to  be tighter than on more normal size glass units. Bostick said this is logical;the tolerances of the surrounding structure tend to remain and the same tolerance over the greater unit length or width means tighter tolerance requirements. He added that more exact fabrication processes and the machines to achieve this should be expected in the future.

Curved glass is also appearing in more projects than ever, he said. This is due, in part, to CAD programs that make it easier to draw curved forms, and a desire by the architects to design something different, not yet done . He also said it is  partially due to manufacturers showing that curved glass is technically possible, though often with many limits. The biggest hurdle yet, he noted, is cost as such curved units can be expensive depending on a lot of different factors. The fact is, Bostick explained, that there is a trend towards more curved glazing.

GPD concluded on Saturday. CLICK HERE to view video from the event. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qL0_nU-_hp0&feature=youtu.be

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