Heart Songs

Next week is the annual AIA Conference in Orlando, Fla., so for the April issue of USGlass magazine, we’ve focused it on the intersection of glass and architecture—sometimes it results in a chaotic collision and, other times, a cacophony of innovative design.

The glass and glazing community loves to grouse about architects—heck, we’ve even written articles about all their faults and foibles—but here’s a secret about architects we never share.

The new Apple campus.

I am breaking the glass industry code to tell you, but here goes: the glass industry secretly loves architects. Here are the top five reasons why:

1- For what they create with glass. We love architects for their ability to merge art and science into exquisite and functional shapes that we could have never imagined. We work with glass every day, but they re-invent it anew every day and fashion it into orbits we never dreamed. And the more they use, the more business it generates for the glass industry.

2- For how they push us into new applications. They use our products to the fullest and push us into new applications. Glass stairways, glass backsplashes, glass marker boards, moveable glass boards and way too many more applications to count all began because an architect said, “wouldn’t it be nice if glass could do this?”

3- They challenge us. Architects challenge the glass industry every day to create new products and to add properties to glass that it doesn’t yet have. And they don’t let up. The innovative new Apple campus features new types of glass, bent to new radii that only came about because architects kept pushing the glass industry to new manufacturing heights.

4- They do not compromise. Okay, some days, we really hate you for this. But most days we admire your commitment to quality and your willingness to reject product if it is not right.

5- Most importantly, we love architects because they have as much respect for glass as we do. Architects understand what glass is and what it can do. Together, we have given birth to some of the most memorable offspring in the world of construction. Together, we create buildings you can’t forget or ignore.

Sure we have our differences, and there are days we think the relationship can’t be saved. But in the end, we always, joyously, meet in the glass.


2 Responses to “Heart Songs”

  1. Jerry Anderson says:

    Deb — I guess I took a different path with architects during my career as I learned to work with architects closely when I was a rookie salesman with Kawneer where we were required to call on architects weekly. Architectural aluminum was in it’s infancy post WW II and architects depended on Kawneer and me as a resource.
    When I founded Harmon Contract for Apogee in 1973 the first effort was to call on architects and introduce our potential strengths. Harmon performed many contracts where SOM was the architects and we learned what they wanted to accomplish with their architectural aesthetic expression and designed systems to accomplish them. Architects are the greatest friends our industry has.

  2. Deb Levy says:

    Hi Jerry,

    I think we are both saying the same thing after all! You spent a good deal of time educating people abou architectural aluminum first, proprietary systems second. Today, we see fewer companies providing this macro-education and focusing solely on providing education around their products. This strategy makes sense for the company and I understand that but we don’t achieve the effects desired in the long run, industry-wise this way. THanks for writing!


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