Just as every parent is sure their baby is the most beautiful in the world, most suppliers would say the products they debut are “new and revolutionary.” And just as beauty remains in the eye of the beholder, so, too, does uniqueness and originality. Some services and products (i.e. low-E glass) truly are revolutionary; others are variations on a theme or evolution of an existing product. New products–brand spanking new products–are a welcome rarity.
One of the reasons that I look forward to the annual American Institute of Architects (AIA) Annual Convention is because it’s all there: the truly new products, the next-generation variations and the fine-tuned permutations all find their way there for the gaggle of gathering architects to see. Such was the case last month when the AIA Show ’13, held in Denver. You already heard about the largest lammy lite. Here are some additional takeaways from AIA 13:
- Tell us what you think, what you really, really think: The AIA Show reinforced for me how many different ideas architects have about what the glass products of the future should be. You don’t even have to ask; most are happy to tell you what they want to use, how it should look and the performance characteristics it should have. What seele did in developing the larger-than-life lammy lite reminds us not to shut our minds to what doesn’t exist yet, because, as John Lennon said, there really is nothing you can do that can’t be done.
- Is that in 3D, too? I had not yet seen the new generation of 3D printers in action but they were all over the AIA show floor disintermediating long time industries like any good computer technology would. Remember the days when the show floor would be sprinkled with artists who drew illustrations of representations of what building facades would like? Well, they are gone, replaced by a wide variety of software and illustration programs. The 3D printers will soon eliminate the scaled model makers and allow architectural firms to make their own mock-ups and models. Just give it another year or two. And with the emergence of software such as Oldcastle’s BIM IQ and other BIM and energy calculation programs, I predict that we will eventually see scaled models that include accurate and changing sun shading throughout the day, as well as calculations of changes to the buildings energy load based on them.
- Hard Eyes on Hardware: The AIA show showed that hardware is indeed in renaissance with the wide variety of hardware types with varying functionality. Both “smart hardware” and new types of ADA-compliant software were in abundance.
- If Everything is Green is Anything Green? Everyone, but everyone, claims their products are greener than the skin of the Wicked Witch of the West. While there are some great green products out there it is, as the song goes, not that easy being green—really green—and their should be easier ways to tell the difference.
- Shame on us, again. It was a nice show floor. The stone industry had a great pavilion, the wood industry had a joint message, I think even the brick guys had a group marketing effort. But the glass industry …. uh, not so much. Not at all, in fact. If ever there were a group before which the industry should put forth a common message of energy-efficiency and cohesiveness, it’s the architects. But this was not to be and this is why we get pummeled by groups like ASHRAE. They count on us to be disjointed. I talked to a few manufacturers about it and most liked the idea but each, in their own way, said the same thing “Oh, wait ‘til our lawyers get a hold of this; they will never let us do it.” And that is a real shame.
Have a great week.