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Pilkington Spacia™: Innovation for historic restoration

It is well known that in recent years, and in years to come, energy codes for buildings have and will continue to become stricter. This is driven by a desire to reduce the environmental impact of a building as well as to reduce the cost to maintain that building.

One area that many look to when trying to improve a building is in its windows. Older buildings, created decades ago, or longer, were fitted with single pieces of monolithic glass, providing poor insulation. Eventually, IGUs, or insulated glass units, were created to improve insulation. IGUs were created using 2 pieces of glass and a spacer and therefore were much thicker than the original windows. Unfortunately, this meant choosing improved insulation at the sacrifice of the building's original appearance. Additionally, switching to the IGUs also meant the costly process of ripping out the original window sashes.

Finally, VIG, or Vacuum Insulated Glazing was created to provide the best of both worlds. Pilkington Spacia™ is the first commercially available vacuum insulated glazing product and it provides the thermal insulation of an IGU at the thickness of a standard monolithic piece of glass. Pilkington Spacia™ is now available in North America.

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A dialogue of surface: House of Religions, Bern, Switzerland
Religious believers from local communities conceived the idea for this ambitious project in Bern, Switzerland, well over a decade ago. As a result of their vision for creating an interreligious space, Europan5 launched an architectural competition in 1999, which was won by Madir Shah of Urbanoffice in Amsterdam. The competition marked the start of a fifteen-year-long process of realization. The core idea for this project was the creation of a place that would accommodate sacred spaces for five world religions under one roof. A unique place of worship that facilitates the meeting of people from different cultures, nationalities, and religious groups in one place. Dark gray Swisspearl Texial panels with two different embossed surface textures were used as the primary cladding material; this was well chosen as it is neutral and restrained, allowing the reflective, glazed section housing the religious spaces to be more prominent. Furthermore, as the fiber cement panels allow a great deal of flexibility, it gave the architects the freedom to configure the fenestration in different ways and to denote the various stacked functions. Read more about our new Swisspearl Texial facade panel on our blog “A Swiss pearl for the world."
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Apply for the 2019 Forge Prize
The Forge Prize recognizes innovation in the use of steel. Established by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the prize invites designers to submit proposals for visionary designs that embrace steel as the primary structural component. Organized by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), it is intended to engage designers in developing imaginative designs that bolster steel as the 21st-century building material of choice through a two-stage design challenge, culminating with a public announcement event of winners in summer 2019. Projects can focus on Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS), Modular Construction, Long-Span, Reuse, Systems, Urban Density, etc., but are not limited in their scope or complexity. The Forge Prize is open to all innovative uses of structural steel. Get inspired! Grand Prize The grand prize winner will receive $20,000. Eligibility The Forge Prize is open to designers practicing in the U.S. or Canada. Entries will be accepted from individuals as well as teams. Team submissions are required to have a designated Team Lead. Individuals or the Team Lead should be an emerging professional, in the process of licensure or within 10-years of licensure. For full details and to submit visit
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Forecasting ceramic tile trends for 2019
Typical ceramic tile trends are shifting as manufacturers produce products with more daring designs. Advancements in ceramic tile technology have transformed the industry, from concept to creation, without compromising core function. Artisanal practices are meeting modern-day production allowing manufacturers the ability to exceed standards in performance while dabbling in stylistic experimentation. According to Tile of Spain Consultant, Ryan Fasan, “in 2019 we’re anticipating architectural products that are ideal for high traffic areas, with the broadest range of aesthetics possible.” Below highlights just a few of the leading ceramic tile trends for 2019: Return to Geometry Ceramic tile with geometric designs will play a major role in 2019. Inspired by the Art Deco movement, geometric shapes create attractive spaces and sophisticated environments while being sensitive to the nostalgia of the past eras. Playing with Finish  Gone are the days of single finish ceramic tiles. In 2019, we will see layers of finish from matte to gloss and even iridescence, enhancing the depth of floors and walls. A Classic Bet Terrazzo inspired ceramics will remain strong in 2019 but will be reinvented as manufacturers experiment with different colors, shapes, and sizes to suit every project. Explore additional Spanish ceramic tile trends by visiting here. Learn more about Spanish ceramic tile here.
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AviProtek® E: Innovative glass that’s bird-friendly AND energy efficient
With current glass facades claiming the lives of hundreds of millions of birds each year, an innovative glass solution was urgently needed to address this dire reality. Innovative firms such as Walker Glass and Vitro are leading the charge in offering intelligent solutions that deter bird collisions and optimize energy performance and the passage of visible light into the building. Walker Glass and Vitro joined forces to create AviProtek® E, bird-friendly glass that combines acid-etched visual markers on surface 1 and Solarban® with high-performance low-E coatings on surface 2. The acid-etched surface mutes reflections, providing efficient visual markers for birds while having no impact on the level of visible light transmittance. Optimal energy performance is reached with Solarban® 60 and 70XL high-performance low-E coatings from Vitro. At the Oregon Zoo Education Center, designers used 6 mm clear glass with pattern 211 on surface 1 and Solarban 70XL on surface 2. Benefits include:
  • 77 percent of the time, birds will avoid collision, which surpasses the recognized industry standard of 70 percent
  • 64 percent Visible Light Transmittance (VLT)
  • 27 Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
With AviProtek® E, it is now possible to conserve energy and save millions of birds each year.
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A total solution for mechanical systems
Heating and cooling systems are responsible for a significant portion of a building’s total energy costs. One way to keep these costs under control is through the use of Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems. These sophisticated, electronic-based HVAC systems perform best with manufacturer involvement to ensure correct programming and operation. VRF-specific sequences and programming are included, for example, with Diamond Controls® Solutions from Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS). This technology and services package works with mechanical systems from multiple manufacturers to provide real-time insight into building system performance and trends, plus it includes VRF-specific programming and support from the Solutions Group from METUS. By specifying this system, architects can ensure that building managers have comprehensive control of mechanical systems from a single interface. While Diamond Controls work with systems from other manufacturers, working with one company for both product and integration removes some common frustrations associated with building integrations. The Solutions Group from METUS is involved in every step of the integration process, including design, programming, installation, training, and start-up, steps that are typically handled by multiple third parties. By offering a single, integrated solution through a reliable provider, METUS improves the efficiency of the integration process and reduces the risk of miscommunication. For more information on the advantages of Diamond Controls, visit
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You are invited to USGBC MA's Green Building Showcase '18
You are invited to USGBC MA’s Green Building Showcase (GBS '18), a gathering of green building professionals to celebrate industry success and innovation. At GBS ’18 community members showcase the best efforts, designs, and products in the Commonwealth. Join USGBC MA for a night of project boards, short presentations, discussions, and awards. This year’s event has a projected attendance of 300 participants and 150 project boards. GBS ’18 will take place at 5:30 p.m. on October 25, 2018, at the Integrated Sciences Complex at UMASS Boston. Attendees include architects, engineers, contractors, developers, owners, facility managers, building users, lenders, suppliers—everyone who plays a role in designing, operating, and constructing the built environment. Learn more at the event website. Interested in seeing some of the projects submitted? See them here.
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Fabcon Sketchboard: Your personal space for all things precast
As an architect, it’s not uncommon to spend hours searching for answers and inspiration. That’s why Fabcon created SketchBoard™—your personal depository for all things precast. “When we redesigned our online experience, we wanted to do more than talk about us—we wanted to add value,” said Joy Svoboda, marketing manager at Fabcon. “By giving users a way to easily retain and revisit the things they found most useful and inspiring, we can finally do more than just give information. We can help our customers put it to good use.” SketchBoard allows you to earmark and collect project photos, technical resources, and articles for future reference—guaranteeing that the things you find will be in one place. Virtually anything on the Fabcon website can be saved to a personal dashboard. Plus, signing up is easy and free. “We’re excited to see how things evolve,” added Svoboda. “We’re hard at work developing additional features and functionality. Creating group boards and sharing content, for example, are two ideas we’re pursuing.” SketchBoard was created to spread the word about precast, as well as remind those who have worked with precast first-hand, the power of Fabcon. You can experience Fabcon’s SketchBoard here: FABCONPRECAST.COM
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TRINAR® coatings frame views from the newest Central Park tower
A 66-story residential skyscraper designed by famed New York architect Robert A.M. Stern is taking shape at 220 Central Park South. The building will be 950 feet tall and will boast park views for most apartments. Many apartments will have floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Classical in design, the building is clad in Alabama silver shadow limestone. A unitized design maximized prefabrication of the enclosure, reducing time spent on site installation. Shop-glazed unitized window assemblies complete the weather-tight system. The windows feature fixed lites, inward-operable hopper vents, thermally-broken custom aluminum frames, and high-performance insulated glass units. To complement the hue of the limestone, aluminum window frames were coated with AkzoNobel custom formulations, including TRINAR TMC “Nickel Finish,” a three-coat metallic color system that imparts a distinctive, pearlescent finish to metal. To learn more about how TRINAR®ULTRA can give your building project a contemporary look suitable for the world’s most recognizable buildings, contact AkzoNobel today.
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Exhibit Columbus’s 2019 exhibition participants join 2018 National Symposium as featured speakers
During the 2018 National Symposium, Design, Community, and Progressive Preservation, all of the participants in Exhibit Columbus’s 2019 exhibition will take the stage for their first public conversations as a group. Before they create temporary installations that will be on view during next year's exhibition, these international leaders will visit Columbus, present their work, and to get to know the community. The J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Recipients—Agency Landscape + Planning, Bryony Roberts Studio, Frida Escobedo Studio, MASS Design Group, and SO-IL—will participate in a conversation moderated by Sean Anderson of the Museum of Modern Art on Saturday, September 29 from 4:30–6:30. The Washington Street Civic Project Leaders—Borderless Studio, Extrapolation Factory, LA-Mas, People for Urban Progress, and PienZa Sostenible—will participate in a conversation moderated by David Rubin of Land Collective on Saturday, September 29 from 11:00–12:30. The University Design Research Fellows will participate in the Afternoon Conversation: States of Design Education at The Republic Building on Thursday, September 27 from 4:00–5:00. Register for the 2018 National Symposium online by September 19. (Note: Tickets will be available on-site as availability permits.) The symposium is produced in collaboration with Docomomo US, the American Institute of Architects Indiana and Kentucky Chapters, and Newfields.
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The new Swisspearl Texial facade panel: A vibrant interplay of light and shadow
Innovative and sustainable products made of natural raw materials, such as the new large-size Texial facade panels, are borne of ingenuity and expertise. The fine surface structure gives the appearance of a fabric and is always one-of-a-kind because it is embossed by hand. A special feature is the manual embossing that generates a fine surface structure reminiscent of fabric and which makes each panel one-of-a-kind. Delicate nuances of color and the raw texture that is the result of the mechanical embossing process highlight the authenticity of the work. A vibrant interplay of light and shadow creates a dynamic effect, making the facades appear almost like a piece of cloth. Texial is available in five colors. While the earth tones blend seamlessly into their environment, at the same time they also make an impact because of their timeless nature. The natural, harmonic color spectrum underlines the character of Texial. Read more about our new Swisspearl Texial facade panel on our blog "A Swiss pearl for the world."
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Experience modernism in the heartland during the 2018 National Symposium in Columbus, Indiana
The 2018 National Symposium, Design, Community, and Progressive Preservation, takes place September 26–29 in Columbus, Indiana. This year’s symposium is produced by Docomomo US and Exhibit Columbus, in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects Indiana and Kentucky Chapters and the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Experience newly created tours that will take you behind the scenes and set the stage for how Columbus secured its place as an architectural mecca and earned the nickname the “Athens of the Prairie.” Join enthusiasts, architects, and preservationists alike for a four-day experience unlike any other, including engaging conversations with more than 40 visionary leaders in architecture, art, design, and community, and special programs like the kick-off events in the newly reinstalled Design Gallery at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and a screening of the documentary Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future plus a question and answer session with Eero Saarinen’s son, Eric Saarinen, and much more. Register for the 2018 National Symposium by September 19 and book your travel to Columbus today!