AIA Exhibitors Answer the Question, What do Architects Want?

When it comes to glass, what do architects really want?

Education, information, options-all were answers that came from many of the companies exhibiting at this year's AIA show.

According to Jerry Razwick, president of Technical Glass Products (TGP), architects want glass to do more, and when it comes to fire-rated glass many options are available.

"It can meet energy codes, it can be impact resistant and can even be decorative," said Razwick. He explained that TGP has recently begun working with Joel Berman Glass Studios to offer a decorative fire-rated product.

"There are lots of options now. The world of fire-rated glass has opened up and it's limitless."

Also on the fire-rated scene was Schott Glass, which introduced its Pyran® fire-rated glass to the North American market. While Schott has offered fire-rated products in Europe and Asia for more than 25 years, the launch of Pyran marks its introduction into North America.

"It was designed uniquely for this market," said Barbara Augenblick, director of marketing communications in North America. And when it comes to architects, "new" is what they are looking for. "They also want to make their designs stand out," she added, and explained one option they offer to allow architects to do so is through their OKACOLOR digitally color printed glass. The process uses a glass coating technique that can reproduce both black and white and color images on heat strengthened or tempered glass.

Providing education was also a priority for exhibitors.

"We're starting to market more to the architect because our product can be specified," said Michael Vennix of Azon USA, a first-time exhibitor. "We want to educate them about spacers, and our product is of interest because it can be used in commercial applications, and may be somewhat new to them."

Joe Erb of Edgetech I.G. also said educating architects was important for them. Through its AIA continuing education program, Erb said they were able to train eight new people during the course of the show.

"We made a lot of good contacts, so being here was definitely good for us," said Erb.

Another company offering continuing education was Vistawall. The company offered a 15-minute program on daylighting that architects could take while visiting the Vistawall booth.

"We've had lots of good traffic and this show has been excellent for us," said Fred Grunewald, research and development manager.

The bottom line, it seems that what architects want, when it comes to glass, is having a product that does more than what it seems. Architects want the product to be attractive, as well as perform the way it is intended to.

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