and Building Designers Gather for GPD
June 15, 2009
This year, for the first time, Glass Performance Days (GPD) included
an architects forum, fully bringing together every member
of the chain from design to construction. The speakers highlighted
case studies and presented their input on upcoming trends during
the biannual technical conference, which ended today in Tampere,
In his session titled Architectural Trends - Through the
Looking Glass, Charles Bostick, of Charles W. Bostick Consulting
Architects cautioned his audience of glass professionals that innovations
in what glass is capable of is leading architects to more demanding
designs than ever before.
you realize architects are making these types of decisions - complex
or complexer - you have to start getting the tools to build this,
he commented. He pointed to complexity as a trend now
among architects because we now have the computers to draw
it. Programs such as building information modeling (BIM) can
ease the process, too, of transferring files among contractors.
The trend toward using BIM (CLICK
HERE for related article) was evident overseas - Richard Green
of Front Inc. presented a session on how BIM greatly eased the complex
coordination in working on Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York.
BIM helped the designers on through the installers track the more
than 2,500 unique components that made up the skylight.
Bostick said another trend was toward curved structures. The
structural engineers are telling us we can do that, no problem,
he said. Modeling is helping the fabricators to follow through on
this as well.
Niccolo Baldassini of RFR elaborated on this trend for curved structures
in his discussion on New Trends in Free-Form Design.
He reported that free-form is quite fashionable
today, but still has lots of challenges. He pointed out that
even free-form designs follow a rational process and that architects
are looking to achieve ever smoother and more unique designs. Architect
Frank Gehrys proposed design for a new Luis Vuitton building
was pointed to by both Baldassini and Bostick as an example of where
this is headed - Gehry is imitating the quintessential free-form
design by basing the building on a cloud (CLICK
HERE for more).
also noted among trends, Were getting large facades
that have little or no means of support.
Rob Nijsse of the Delft University of Technology had an interesting
solution to an architects request for a large glass façade
with little support.
If I take a flat leaf of paper its very weak,
he first explained, waving a sheet of paper in the air, but
if I put a few folds in it its much stronger. He applied
the same essential concept to glass and detailed the results in
his talk on Corrugated Glass as an Improvement to the Structural
Resistance of Glass. He presented some unique case studies.
One couldnt help but wonder about the distortion when looking
through these large windows, but Nijsse explained, the architect
likes it because it makes the views of the city non-real.
He also discussed some acoustic benefits when applied in a concert
hall and its resistance to deflection.
Bostick also pointed to transparency as a prominent trend for the
glass industry - a great trend promoting the use of glass.
Bostick also pointed to one interesting new technology that has
been the subject of several seminars. The technology that
I think has the most potential
is that many people in the
industry are using bonded connectors, he explained.
Several presenters discussed opportunities for bonding metal directly
to a laminated glass interlayer as the newest trend for connecting
lites with minimal visual interference. He noted that with point-supported
glass, the fabricator is in essence wounding the glass [by
drilling into it] and putting the most stress of the system on that
wound. It has its limitations.
According to Bostick, Once it becomes known in the architectural
world that you can do this and the costs are down, its going
Despite the strong theme of solar energy at this years event,
Bostick did note one non-trend of sorts: Solar
cells are not really big on any architects mind
its also too expensive still, he said. He added candidly,
I dont think the architects are quite that interested
in energy efficiency yet.
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