GPD: James Carpenter to Look Back, Ahead at Glass Technologies

Glass Performance Days (GPD) will heavily focus on innovation when it kicks off in late-June in Finland, making keynote speaker architect James Carpenter the ideal fit to get the ball rolling.

Carpenter, founder of James Carpenter Design Associates, will make a presentation at the event’s 25th anniversary with an overview of key technological developments in the industry over the past quarter-century and what to expect moving forward. He is a staunch advocate of designing for natural light and the role of glass in architecture.

James Carpenter speaking at the BEC Conference in February.

“There’s been a huge emphasis on larger glass in the last eight to ten years, and I think that’s finding a limit,” he says. “Now there’s an interest among leading designers to start working with glass in terms of bending, folding and doing something else with the material aside from just going bigger, bigger and bigger. And relative to performance, coatings have for the most part found a productive limit in terms of what they can do, so now there is a desire to combine multiple solutions that can improve the performance of the glass.”

He says that, as performance requirements continue to tighten, designing an all-glass building has become more difficult, as has the implementation of low-iron glass. “The target was to get the clearest glass, but in order to meet energy codes, the glass has become darker and darker when used [in larger spans]… But there are other ways of designing, ways of being creative and approaching it with more than one solution.”

Carpenter looks forward to discussing these opportunities with fellow innovators and industry leaders at GPD, which he says takes a unique approach to the industry conference format.

“One of the most interesting aspects of GPD is that it gives us the ability to connect with all the technical people in the industry, whether it’s in coatings, sealants or other areas,” he says. “And it’s an unusual conference in the sense that there are so many technical papers being provided. Other events tend to be much more generic, more sales related. At GPD, we [as designers] can meet with colleagues whose work has a direct relationship to what we do.”

Carpenter adds that what makes the conference special is “the sharing of information.”

“Often times, the industry wants to be more protective of its technologies,” he says. “But at GPD, there is a great degree of interaction—people discussing all the different technologies and the opportunities they present. It’s not just, ‘Here’s our product, and here’s what it does.’ It’s, ‘here is the potential of this technology, and here is what we can make of it.’”

GPD will be held June 28-30 and features more than 180 presentations. Other keynote speakers at the event include Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes of AKKA Architects, Michael Robinson of ED Design srl, Bernard Savaete of BJS.Differences and former Finland prime minister Esko Aho of Finnish Industries.