A Call to Action
Education—or lack thereof—for glass, glazing and facades is something the industry has talked about for years. Little, though, has changed. I’ve sat through many meetings and conferences where the subject is discussed … Architects get little to no education on glass; where’s the glass-specific training for those wanting to enter this field? We need to educate, they all say. How do we do this? It will take industry involvement—and some say it can and will be done.
Last week during the second GlassCon Global conference, which took place in Boston, Mic Patterson, president of the Façade Tectonics Institute, who was also recently named director of strategic business development for Schuco USA, moderated a panel discussion that delved into the subject of education. They talked about why most U.S. schools don’t offer more educational resources for glass and facades.
As the panelists discussed, architectural programs offer lots of courses on other materials. So wouldn’t the easy answer be to just create a class for glazing? Unfortunately, they said, you can’t just create a class. But classes can be adjusted to incorporate glazing.
But the industry is needed.
Doug Noble, head of building science at the University of Southern California, said it’s important for the industry and educational communities to work together. Often, he said, it seems the industry wont’ approach them, in many cases because they think universities are more or less looking for funding.
“But, in fact what we need are topics,” Noble said, explaining that if they’ve got projects that are of interest to the industry they can then guide those research and development efforts.
Scott Norville of Texas Tech University said most of the things they do are at the graduate level and most funding comes from the industry. But there are usually two problems:
1) The industry wants a quick answer; and
2) They may not want the findings to be published.
When taking audience questions Noble said, he thinks there are a lot of industry people who’d like to have a liaison at the university level.
“Don’t be shy or scared. Reach out [to us]. We can talk and learn all kinds of ways to work together,” he said.
So what’s next? Action.
As Paterson said, these conversations have been happening for a long time and the interest is there.
“We have to move beyond dialogue and leverage this into action. We recognize there’s a way to do that. We have an idea and will move on it. It starts with a small step,” he said, suggesting that instead of a semester on facades, maybe it starts with a day of glass.
“Something we can collaborate on and put our resources together to make available to other institutes a way to facilitate that knowledge and a form of outreach. We will do this and it will be great. It will be exciting and dynamic. It’s time to get in and dial this in.”