• When I first met Greg Carney in ’81, he and I were both brand-new to the glazing business.  I was a draftsman for Olden & Co in Dallas. He was with LOF Sales, helping Steve Ingram in the Dallas market.

    As so many of us were, I was shocked and saddened to read last week that Greg had passed.  Later, when reading some of the tributes to him, I had to laugh at one of the remarks about him walking job sites. I think I was with him on that first walk that was mentioned.  He wouldn’t let me live down what I did on site that day.

    The job was the Commerce Bank Tower in Ft. Worth — 40 stories with lockstrip neoprene curtain wall on an aluminum frame.  You have to remember, this was before the required use of full body harnesses and perimeter safety lines.  Our glazing crew was setting glass on the 38th floor.  So, Greg and I watched for a while from the floor, then went up to the roof to get a bird’s-eye view of the crew running the lockstrip and setting the glass, nudging the glass past the stubborn gasket corners.

    Instead of leaning out over the edge of the 40th floor roof, I laid flat, chest down, and snuck my head over the edge (no fool I).  Greg just walked up to the edge, grabbed the aluminum curtainwall frame and leaned out over it.  Good for him.  I wasn’t going to do it.  He never let me forget it.

    A few years ago when I was at another company, I walked by the conference room, and some of our folks were talking to a guy that looked an awfully lot like Greg.  He looked up, saw me, and shined that grin that you just knew could only be Greg’s.  And while he didn’t interrupt the meeting to come grab me, he did so later.  Even though we hadn’t seen each other in years, it was like we hadn’t missed a day.  He allowed you to think that once you were his friend, you were always going to be.

    I crossed paths with him many times in recent years, and worked under his direction when the Sealant Manual was revised, putting together the GANA Blueprint Reading course.

    It’s not an understatement to say I have a lot a respect for him.  There have not been many people who have contributed more to making this a better industry than Greg.  And, I for one (I’m sure there are many) will miss his infectious personality and the contributions he would have continued to make to this industry.  Irreplaceable doesn’t begin to describe him.

    Fare thee well; you did good, Greg.  Thank you.  We will miss you.  What will always bring a smile to my face whenever your name comes up is that smile and that laugh!

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  • Some time ago, I did a blog about buildings that are unique and worth looking into for what they brought to the glazing world. So, nothing like pulling out the same slate again, but with a twist:  one’s a golden oldie, one’s recently completed, and one’s about to be built.  They each hold their own in what they contributed or will contribute to the industry.

    First, the eye-catching building that’s about to be built: Apple’s new headquarters: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_24290808/apple-offers-sneak-peek-at-its-new-headquarters

    A reporter referred to it as a “spaceship – designed” structure.  The scale is huge:  a mile circumference (1/3 mile diameter) and four stories tall.  That works out to about 250,000 sq.ft. of curtainwall, at least on the exterior, and probably two-thirds of that on the interior side.

    The claim the building will be as innovative as any other Apple product can only be proved over time. It will be interesting to see how it’s received in the architectural press after it’s built, and whether it lives up to all the things the designers want it to do, like reducing air conditioning needs for 70 percent of the year and using 30 percent less energy that a typical Silicon Valley corporate building.  Two thoughts come to mind:  1) I’d like to get the glazing contract, and 2) if I worked there, I don’t think I’d enjoy walking to a meeting on the other side of the building.

    Now, let’s look at a classic all-glass building: Philip Johnson’s Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.  The former pastor there, Dr. Robert Schuller, started his ministry conducting services in a drive-in movie theater, and the building has what I describe as a hangar door that opened to allow those who still came to church in their cars to remain in them.

    This building is a towering symbol of 1970s architecture, with eight walls and the roof glazed over a steel space frame that limits interior structure, thereby enclosing a large, uninterrupted interior space.  Glazed with reflective glass (the product of choice in the halcyon days of yore and before low-E), the space is open, almost like being outside. At the time, it was one of the largest single structural silicone glazing jobs on the books.  The space frame and glazing were designed for an 8.0 magnitude earthquake.  I believe LOF was the glass manufacturer.

    This building was under construction just as I came out of school. You can see some good interior and exterior shots of it here.

    More recently, SOM completed the Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland, Calif.:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNKlR_jkEo4.  Talk about the use of natural lighting!  The silhouette of Christ above the alter is actually metal panels with a dot pattern with a variety of different hole sizes and spacing that’s backlit by the exterior wall behind it.  Even the interior spaces are designed to appear as if they are naturally lit, even though the lights are clearly visible.  It’s easy to see why this building is getting so many accolades in the construction and architecture circles.

    One thing that jumps out with all of these projects, especially the last two is this: think about the radical change to these buildings if ASHRAE had its way and limited the glazing to 30 percent (knowing that the 40 percent vs. 30 percent limit probably isn’t applicable to these types of building).  It’s nice to see architects take on such unique challenges that open up their facades to let the sun shine in.  Hopefully, the glass biz will continue to help them along the way.

  • Look for ghouls, goblins and super heroes on your doorstep tonight, but don’t expect many miniature suit-wearing insurance underwriter wannabes.

    I’ve seen several comments recently regarding whether safety glass installed in storefronts prior to 1977 should be replaced, or if it is grandfathered. I’m surprised this situation isn’t caught and resolved through insurance underwriting.

    Don’t the insurance companies weigh in on liability insurance and inspect a business’s premises the same way they do homes? When my wife and I bought our current home, we had to schedule the insurance people to walk through it before closing so they could confirm the roofing type, distance to a fire hydrant and other details. They even pointed out one or two things that needed to be done in order for them to carry the policy.

    Isn’t this same thing done with business insurance coverage? For example, it seems like a lot of the reduction in job-related injuries over the years has been insurance-driven. The insurance carriers come in, inspect the premises, make recommendations for changes and underwrite what’s being done correctly. It’s a pretty pro-active process, making changes before someone gets hurt, not afterwards. I wonder if the storefront glass in a restaurant, in the old hardware store downtown, at Bill’s Barber Shop on the square, etc., is one of the things insurers inspect when they walk the premises.

    I’m not advocating that insurers be the safety police; it’s just curious how potential code compliance problems end up getting past them.

    On a different note, I was glad to see that the recent ill-informed suggestion to use wired glass as a bullet-resistant material was spit back out as quickly as it was put out there as the hokum it is. I was proud to see the reaction from some of our industry people who know the ins and outs of glass. Traditional wired glass is not impact or bullet-resistant, so it is not really a defense against school intruders.

    Compared to annealed glass, traditional wired glass was considered 50 percent weaker than annealed glass in some of the older codes. The wiring isn’t all that strong. I get the fact that the wires might remain captured around the edges, and that might be a deterrent. But with a gun, how does it block any subsequent shots after the first one that shatters it? The wire’s not strong enough or sufficient to stop bullets on its own. And the self-described “expert’s” statement didn’t come with any backup or testing, just that the wire had stayed in the opening.

    Lastly, in honor of Lyle Hill and his quotes of the week, I offer this one I heard recently from Loren Supp, AIA, lead designer with Gensler in Seattle: “Architects try to take science and synthesize it into art.”

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USGlass Magazine

USGlass Magazine