The Sky’s No Limit

AIA ’18 Offers Glazing Solutions that are Transforming Architectural Designs

By Ellen Rogers and Jordan Scott

New York City is tough to beat when it comes to great displays of architectural glass—and it didn’t disappoint when the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2018 Conference on Architecture took place there June 21-23. For many exhibitors—especially glass industry companies—aesthetics continues to be a major focus. In addition, many other features and benefits are driving product development as companies continue to offer customizable and high-performance solutions to meet architects’ needs.

Cost Savers

Offering a means to be both cost- and time-efficient remains a driving force in product development. Unitized curtainwall, for example, can help meet those demands. YKK AP America showcased its newest development, which is designed to help contract glaziers do more work in the shop, rather than in the field—where the environment is less controlled and not as safe.

The company introduced the YUW 750 TU, a thermally-broken, unitized curtainwall that provides captured or structural silicone glazed options. The captured frame features a 2 ½-inch sightline, while the 4-side structural silicone glazed frame has no sightline for a sleek modern look.

EFCO Corp. showed its pre-glazed curtainwall, which can be installed quickly to offset the impact of the skilled labor shortage. The company’s 5600 PG, pre-glazed curtainwall is a hybrid stick-built system. It offers users a quick installation and thermal performance.

For the Birds

Glass fabricators have put an increased focus on bird-friendly glass products. This is because birds cannot “see glass” and often fly directly into it, causing mil-lions of bird fatalities every year.

Walker Glass Co. was one of the early developers in the market for bird-friendly glass products, and has continued providing information and education to architects, as well as the glazing industry, about these products.

“There’s more knowledge about it, awareness about it and interest in it,” said Danik Dancause, marketing manager with Walker Glass. He explained that a number of municipalities are also beginning to adopt codes that require bird-friendly glass products. His company offers three different products to meet different needs and budgets.

Likewise, Guardian Glass featured its soon-to-be released Bird1st™ UV coatings. These work with laminated glass to break up reflectivity, allowing the glass to be more visible to birds, but very subtle to the human eye.

Decorative glass was a popular choice at the show. A number of exhibitors featured products designed to offer a unique aesthetic.

Galaxy Glass & Stone highlighted many different products and styles that can be used for both interior and exterior applications. According to company president Eugene Negrin, his company is fabricating a lot of decorative laminated glass with different materials, such as metals and textiles, as well as color.

“Color is really strong,” said Negrin, adding that antique mirror is also making a comeback in the commercial setting.

AGC Glass Co. was also focusing on decorative for indoor-outdoor applications with its Lacobel T/Matelac T products. Lacobel T is a float glass covered on one side with a high-quality, temperable back-paint, while Matelac T is temper-able and back-painted on one side and acid-etched on the other side. Thanks to the tempering process, these products can be used in a range of applications, such as building facades and interior wall cladding, kitchen backsplashes, door panels and more.

Safety and Security

Finding ways to improve access control and security, particularly in schools, is a growing focus for many companies. Assa Abloy featured its new Attack Resistant Openings, developed in partnership with School Guard Glass. The complete door openings comply with the 5-aa10 test standards based on the FBI’s Active Shooter Re-port, and are designed using hollow metal door and frame construction with Assa Abloy hardware.

Director of wood and aluminum marketing and communications Kenny Webb explained that the openings are tested to ensure they can withstand an intense four-minute physical attack with the use of hand tools after being shot 60 times with 7.62 NATO rounds. While the door or glass may not stop a bullet from penetrating the opening, the attack-resistant door assembly is designed to remain intact, preventing an intruder from breaching the opening. Webb explained this provides more time for law enforcement, first responders, etc. to reach the scene.

Safe Schools, Safe Kids, a new company based in Minneapolis, was a first-time exhibitor. The company offers door and entrance products constructed with bullet-resistant materials for entrances as well as interior spaces. The systems are designed to match the current décor and style of the school, while still providing enhanced security and protection.

Other companies including Global Security Glazing, which is part of Consolidated Glass Holdings, and LTI Smart Glass, also highlighted glass products designed specifically to keep schools safe and secure.

Energy Performance

Evolving energy codes are requiring greater thermal performance from en-trance systems. To meet this demand, C.R. Laurence introduced its Entice panic device, an access control handle that features an independent, ultra-narrow horizontal crash bar. The Entice is designed for installation on both monolithic tempered glass doors and double-glazed insulating glass units using proprietary through-glass fittings. The crash bar is engineered to attach to the vertical ladder pull component easily and securely, and the innovative two-piece design helps simplify assembly and alignment for expedited installation.

Sussman Architectural Products featured its 6400 Series triple-glazed thermal break church windows, which are incorporated into a 3 ½ inch thermally broken frame. Two different aluminum extrusions can be finished independent of each other and then joined with 6/6 polyamide nylon strips. The result is a thermally-improved window with the option of different finishes on the interior and exterior. According to company information, this combination, along with triple contact weather stripping in the ventilator, provides maximum condensation resistance and superior insulation, making it ideal for church windows when heating, condensation, noise and protection of stained glass are factors.

Likewise, Chris Palmer-Ball, vice president of Palmer Products Corp., expects green building to grow increasingly beyond large cities. The company created its green, Palmer SuperSet Mirro-Mastic product in response to that trend.

Big Glass, Big Focus

As architects use more glass in buildings, they demand larger glass sizes. Both Guardian Glass and Vitro are gearing up for the launches of their jumbo coaters, while Viracon, which started taking orders for its jumbo-sized glass in mid-2016, displayed its largest-sized glass, measuring 130- by 236 inches.

“Architects are not intimidated by big glass. They’re embracing it,” said Annette Panning, Viracon’s director of marketing and product management. She said architects aren’t using oversized glass over the total façade, and prefer an increase in floor-to-ceiling size.

According to Panning, oversized glass offers energy savings, something architects don’t always consider. More glass means less metal, which is the most conductive part of a curtainwall system.

Mark Your Calendars

The 2019 AIA Conference on Architecture will head to Las Vegas, June 6-8. Plans are still in the works, but additional information will be made available online at

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.


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