• Field Notes 02.01.2013

    A lot’s gone on the past month outside the glass industry.

    First, 12/12/12 came and went, and the world didn’t end on 12/21/12. All these date sequences–are they gone until 1/2/03, 90 years from now? Or, will people be as interested in 12/24/36, or are there other variations that have stuck in your mind? The Pythagorean Theorem is one number set that’s stuck with me (where a triangle with sides a = 3 and b = 4 has side c = 5).

    Other spatial relationships, such as those found in architecture going back to the Egyptians, have always fascinated me. Many European cities, such as Athens and Rome, are laid out with patterns not easily discernible when walking their streets, but are noticeable when viewed in plan. Some of that was brought forward to some U.S. cities, most notably with L’Enfant’s design for Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Likewise, Frank Lloyd Wright’s early work was based on simplified but spatially organized grid systems that have always intrigued me.

    And, some of this thinking gets applied to modern curtainwall designs. The earliest curtainwalls were simple, repeating grids. The more complex examples, such as Gehry’s IAC Building in NYC, are challenging to the detailer, but how’d the architects think them up in the first place?

    I have a lot of respect for whoever can think this far out of the box. Gehry was in Permasteelisa’s plant watching glass being set on typical unitized wall panels. Seeing the glass deflect under its own weight when picked up by suction cups, he used that natural glass “bow” to come up with the unitized concept for the IAC project. The curtainwall units are bowed and warped, not just flat and/or segmented.

    In another complex curtainwall project – New York’s 100 11th Avenue building – no two adjacent lites are in the same plane, and are canted at different angles, both horizontally and vertically within their respective frames. It makes for an interesting reflection, but also gives me a headache to even begin to envision the detailing that would have required (not to mention how many gallons (not tubes) of sealant it took to waterproof this system). How did they frame it–with extrusions or with brake metal? I’m completely stumped and equally impressed.

    Some notable events within the glazing industry have also occurred recently.

    Guardian announced they now have a minority partner (Koch Industries with 44 percent of the stock) and a new president.

    The U.S. Department of Commerce is slapping tariffs on Chinese unitized curtainwall imports. Meanwhile, the Canadian government decided not to take similar action, initially finding no cause for doing so. I’ve stated here before: if you can produce it cheaper than we can, and produce the same quality, no issues. But, it’s an unfair competitive advantage domestic suppliers don’t get if our governments don’t subsidize our products, while foreign governments subsidize their manufacturers.

    Finally, right before Christmas, the memorials for the Newtown school shooting victims had me wanting to rant about everything that tragedy means, how it could be fixed and who should do what about it. But, given the time of year, the thought crossed my mind: Why not wish for “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men” the whole year long, not just in the latter part of December? There’s a New Year’s resolution in there somewhere, I think.

    Hope your holidays were spent with family. I went sledding yesterday (for the first time in I don’t know how long) with the grandkids. No pictures of that are available, certainly not for publication. But it was fun, and I’m not in the same shape I was in years’ past …

    Best in the coming year to you and yours.

     

    Posted by Blogger @ 10:19 pm

  • 2 Responses

    • Being this is 2013, the calendar’s ripe with prime number datess:
      Prime months: 1, 3, 5, 7, 11, with days 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, all with /13 as the year.
      or if you want them in sequence: 7/11/13.

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