Exhibitors Show Just How Unique Glass Can Be

Words such as “custom,” “unique,” “energy performance” and “aesthetics” were commonly said among glass and glazing exhibitors at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention in Atlanta. Their mission: to show architects why they’re one of a kind. The glass and glazing industry had a strong presence throughout the three-day event, which took place May 14-16, offering products such as curtainwall, components, coatings and, of course, glass.

The AIA show puts a particular emphasis on the building envelope, something that provides companies such as Sika an opportunity to showcase a variety of capabilities.

“The biggest challenge architects and engineers have is with transitions,” said Sika area manager Jim Frawley, adding that his company offers solutions from “below grade to the roof.”

Sika was among the AIA Show exhibitors offering products for the building envelope.
Sika was among the AIA Show exhibitors offering products for the building envelope.

One point of focus, he said, is working with architects and designers to reduce the size of the mullion with high strength silicones and high strength insulating glass sealants.

Donnie Hunter with Kawneer Co. Inc., an Alcoa company, said thermal performance and security are topics driving conversations with architects. One way his company has approached these requests is through product solutions for the building.

“When you add all of the products together you can offer a solution package,” he said, speaking of the options available through Alcoa. “Owners are also driving toward a single source.”

Firestone Building Products had a similar approach. As Robert Anderson explained, the company has historically been known as a supplier of roofing materials. However, it’s been almost ten years since the company started its work with metal panels. This is part of the message Anderson said they want to convey.

“We are a building envelope solutions company,” he said, “and we’re providing the transition from roof to wall.”

Speaking of energy performance, Mike Turner with YKK AP said while architects still want to meet code requirements, “what we hear is not always what we’re seeing.” He explained that because the strongest codes are not required in all areas the highest performing products aren’t always the ones ultimately used.

On the coatings front, Linetec featured its new terra cotta series, which comes in 17 coatings and emulates the look of real terra cotta. Senior marketing specialist Tammy Schroeder said the company just landed its first project with the line and has fielded a lot of interest.

Valspar, in celebrating its 50th anniversary of the Fluropon product, showcased its effects line, which includes its color-shifting “Kameleon” coating.

Exhibitors also featured options that allow architects to be creative with their designs. Deborah Carpenter with Kuraray said the company has been seeing interest in their SentryGlas Expressions printed interlayers.

“You have the ability to print anything you want,” she said. “You could just print a custom color.”

Carpenter added that another feature that architects like is the design flexibility the product provides.

“They’re challenging the limits of what glass can do,” she said.

Panda Windows & Doors featured its lift-and-slide glass wall systems, as well as its folding systems. The lift-and-slide system provides limited site-line interference and can be moved with the push of the finger. Other key features include its “barefoot-friendly track,” as well as the weather-tight seal the door provides when it drops and secures in the track in the lock position.

The folding system, meanwhile, utilizes double gaskets where the doors fold to provide a buffer, making it “pinch-resistant.”

Clara Blake, Midwest regional manager, said no two Panda projects are alike—whether it is in the high-end residential area or the commercial sector.

Next year the AIA National Convention is headed to Philadelphia, May 18-21.