Bird-Friendly, BIM-Friendly

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2019 Conference on Architecture, held earlier this month in Las Vegas, brought together thousands of architects and exhibitors. Visitors came for education and to bridge the gap between products and specifications. Here’s my take on the top trends:

1.  Glass for the Birds—Literally
Bird-friendly glass has moved from novelty to de rigueur as a number of primary manufacturers and fabricators have advanced offerings. What began as a lark, so to speak, to protect our feathered friends has soared in popularity as the architectural glass community took action to reduce the number of avian deaths. You can see some of the latest here:

2. An Unending Panel

New types of finishes and new applications using them continued to dominate the show.

Petersen Aluminum, for example, highlighted its Precision Series Highline S1 architectural wall panels, which provide design flexibility and easy, cost-effective installation. The Highline S1 profile is 1-3/8 inch deep, and can be paired with six other profiles in the Highline Series. The panels can be installed horizontally or vertically, and can also be specified as perforated in aluminum only for use in equipment screen applications or over graphics.

Another new product at the show was the SnapCab Connect, a modular panel system that creates workspaces anchored by pods on wheels for maximum flexibility. It’s typical of the trend toward multi-use panels.
3.  New Combos
New products and technologies continued to be combined in novel ways to push the proverbial glass envelope. Galaxy Glass, for example, combined new textures with Corning’s Gorilla Glass to create some breath-taking looks. Assa Abloy combined new designs in hardware pulls and handles with eye-catching colors for an unforgettable look.

Bigger and bigger openings also continue to be in demand. Panda Windows & Doors featured its TSXO system which has a very narrow sightline, according to Jennyfer Woods, vice president of sales. She said the slim lines and large glass help maximize views of wherever the application is located.

“It’s designed for the residential market, but we’re seeing a lot of interest in using it on the commercial end, so we’re starting to gear toward that end,” she said.
4.  Seamless Software

Software publishers have advanced their products to include more features and more integrated functionality. Especially notable is its ability to connect 2D data to BIM output as Revit 2020 supports a PDF underlay. This means that PDFs can be brought into Revit and snapped in with new BIM elements placed on it, supporting an ever-more seamless workflow that is BIM-Friendly.

5.  Can You Say “Timber”?
While tours were “Vegas-ified” and included visits to such places as Rat Pack homes and the Sky Bridge at the Grand Canyon, the seminars brought an eclectic mix including designing with storage containers, creating facilities for cancer patients and new advances in dog pounds. More traditional sessions, such as one on fire-rated glazing and others that highlighted daylighting were also included. Amidst all this though, the buzz remained around the use of wood in curtainwall designs. More on this is our June issue.