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Trendspotting at BAU


A show like BAU just serves to highlight what we already knew: that the Europeans are “lite years” ahead of North America in design, energy efficiency and quality. And the difference is readily apparent. As one colleague said to me, “this show really highlights the differences between American and European building styles. Europeans begin a project thinking, ‘how can we build the highest quality building that does what we want?’ Americans start a project by wondering, ‘how can we build the cheapest building that does what we want?’” I was fortunate to spend two days at BAU2015 in Munich, Germany last week. The biennial six-day (yes, six) show attracts visits from… Read More »

Top Take-Aways

This impressive handler was about three stories high in the air.

Glasstec was a great show—and now that it’s over, I’ve had a little time to reflect. So if you’ll forgive me for my jetlagged pontifications, I’d like to share my top five take-aways from this year’s event. Here goes: 1. Thin Is In—and Out. I wrote a full story on this one on Friday, as it was the top story to emerge from this year’s event. 2.  You’ve Got to Move It, Move It—the second most pronounced theme was the advancements being made in glass handling equipment and machinery. The robotics we glimpsed at at glasstec in 2010 and 2012 have now gone mainstream, and just about every handling equipment… Read More »

Glassy Eyes at glasstec

The stands of manufacturers such as Saint Gobain and Guardian were packed as tightly as a Tokyo subway.

There is so much business being done in these halls that it’s hard to keep up with it. A buoyed economy coupled with pent-up demand has resulted in a deal a minute here in the halls of glasstec. “We sold our machine,” said one machinery maker five minutes after the show opened. It’s been like that ever since. Even through a Lufthansa-planned strike on Monday afternoon and Tuesday, organizers report that opening day foot traffic was the same as the last show. This is a sizable victory given that nearly 1,500 Lufthansa flights were cancelled during the job action, which has now been suspended. And by Wednesday morning the floodgates… Read More »

Eye-Opening Opening

You know the old song, “Another opening, another show?” Well, not quite this time, as glasstec 2014 began with an artistic reminder of the ethereal qualities that keep us enamored with glass, followed by a dose of realistic viewpoints from a number of top industry leaders. The Opening Ceremonies for glasstec 2014 were held Monday evening at the Classic Remise, a converted locomotive roundhouse that featured yards of yards of architectural glass—surrounding and displaying a world-class international collection of cars and motorcycles. But the cars were merely props for evening’s star. Glass of every possible type—architectural, specialty, containers and bottles among them—as interpreted first in artistry by an Italian puppet troupe… Read More »

The 33rd

33 glass

I woke up this morning at 3:33 a.m. Eastern time. For reasons I’ll explain, I’d already been thinking about the number 33. Then, true story, it was the first thing that loomed in front of my very sleepy eyes—in a weird sort of prophetic double vision. So I decided to see if little old 33 had any additional significance. Now, 7, 13, 100, those are numbers that have history and get respect. But what about 33? Does it have any claims to fame? Turns out it does. It’s rather infamous in mathematics being that 33 is a number and all. It’s the smallest sum of two positive numbers, each of which… Read More »

Windows to the (Old) World

A little bit San Fran, a little bit Rio: The statue of the Redeemer in the background is the only clue your not looking at the Golden Gate Bridge but the main Bridge in Lisbon.

It was a beautiful scene. To the East was a five-sail boat in the harbor, under a silhouette of the Golden Gate bridge. The Western view was of tightly packed streets, built on gentle but sloping hills that rose up to a high and distorted degree. But more than this, it was a reminder of how small the world is and how quickly technology travels. The beautiful view of San Francisco was anything but—anything but San Francisco, that is. It was actually Lisbon, Portugal. Ever since I’d read A Hero’s Life, Richard Ben Carter’s biography of Joe DiMaggio years ago, I’ve known that great portions of San Francisco were settled… Read More »

Award-Winning AIA

Yeah that

Last week we talked a bit about the scary things I saw at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention. Most of those revolved around the use of alternative building materials on the building envelope and why it’s such a cause for concern. So this week, let’s talk about what was memorable in a good way. Let’s even recognize them with an annual award. I call them the “debbies.” Here goes: Most fun booth: Definitely YKK AP. Now they generate a lot of buzz with the whole “architect rap” thing, but it’s definitely infectious, even to an old glass gal like me. The two guys who appear in the… Read More »

June Bugs

Can you believe that it is June already?  Depending on where you live, June is either your first glimpse of summer or your last of spring. June also means weddings, graduations and Father’s Day. But for me, June is all about something different. For me, June is all about architects. That’s because the June issue of USGlass magazine focuses on the architect-glass industry interface, and our Architects Guide to Glass & Metal bi-monthly has its largest issue of the year. And it’s also the month we prep for and attend the American Institute of Architect’s annual convention, which will be held June 26-28 at McCormick Place in Chicago. If you… Read More »

The Green Vaccine


I always take it as a quiet honor when readers contact us because they are having a problem sourcing a particular product. And I take it as a quiet victory when we are able to help, which we are able to do more times than not. But there’s one type of call I get, about once every four to six weeks, that always starts with the same sense of frustration, bordering on anger. That’s the call from the purchasing or estimating agent who doesn’t know where to turn.  You can just about hear the sense of defeat coming through the phone. The scenario has minor variations, but in general it… Read More »


It seemed like such an innocent article, so righteous, so true and on point. It detailed how the “good guys” had gone after the “bad guys” and gotten money back for the innocents. And in return, they had agreed not to go after the “bad guys” in court. What a victory! BULL-oney!! The article to which I am referring ran on our own daily e-newspaper Friday. It details how attorneys for the creditors’ committee in the Trainor bankruptcy have been able to recover nearly $500,000 that they allege was paid inappropriately to creditors in the months prior to the bankruptcy filing. Again, I say BULL. Those of us who have… Read More »

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