Taking the Wide View

After 25 years in the same house, I recently moved. The old place, a farm house that was built circa 1900, was full of charm. It still had many of its wonderful old windows, and a supplement of a block of nine-on-nine true-divided lite units that were installed to open up the living room and let the sun in while retaining that 19th century country feeling.

Now, I live in a wonderful apartment overlooking New York City and the George Washington Bridge with a wall of windows that bathes the apartment in light and gives me a terrific view (everyone knows the best views of Manhattan are from New Jersey).

That apartment is in the Horizon House complex in Fort Lee, N.J., which was named one of the state’s 150 top buildings and places last year by the American Institute of Architects of New Jersey. The list was compiled from nominations received from the state’s architectural and historic communities.

Being involved in the architectural glass community has made me aware of the importance of daylighting and the role that windows play in it. Of course, we all know instinctively that we want to live in a sunny place not a dark hole. But for most people, the thought doesn’t go much further than that.

Daylighting was very much on the agenda at the Glass Performance Days meeting I attended in Tampere, Finland last June. One of the things I’ve always liked most about this biennial event is that it is a meeting place for all segments of the architectural glass and metal industry, but it also includes researchers, academics and architects from around the world. During its three days, all these different groups of people involved in the building of a structure can sit down and talk with each other, ask questions, and get the larger picture of what goes on in design and construction.

An important part of GPD is the presentations about projects from the perspective of the various parties involved in the construction process, focusing of course on the glass and metal.

Granted, it takes a real commitment to architectural glass and metal to travel all the way to Finland for four days. But we all benefit from those who do, because they make those projects that move design and construction forward, and we all then read about them. It’s terrific teamwork and I love being part of it and seeing it take place.