Innovation and Imagination

Crystal Achievement Award winners recognized for third time
By Matt Slovick, Sahely Mukerji, Katy Devlin, Jane Holtje and Meredith Lidard
October 4, 2008

We asked for innovations and achievements in glass, you delivered. Glass Magazine's third annual Crystal Achievement Awards produced 29 winners in 21 categories, including new additions Best Retail Showroom and Best Mirror Installation/Residential.

The judges singled out mirrored glass tiles around a fireplace; liquid crystal switchable glass sliding doors on a tour bus; a bath enclosure with an operating transom in the glass panel; panels that incorporate thousands of glass fiber optic strands inside the material that transmit natural or artificial light into all spaces enclosed by the concrete; a color changing, dichroic laminated glass; a restaurant on top of a 27-story tower that offers almost 360-degree views. They also selected projects at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kan.; Spertus Museum, Chicago; and the Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.

"Now in its third year, our Crystal Achievement Awards program for the glass industry continues to grow," says Nicole Harris, Glass Magazine publisher. "The submissions and awards reflect the advances in the industry, from high-profile projects and the initiative involved in new applications and systems, and also increased creativity of Web sites and marketing campaigns."

The awards were selected by a panel of judges who represent all segments of the industry, recognizing innovations as well as achievements in glass technology, manufacturing and marketing. A total of 85 top-notch nominations led to the honorees featured in the following pages. The award winners will be honored Oct 6-8 at GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo in Las Vegas.

The judges, who are listed in this issue, include executives and consultants along with those involved in product development, production, construction, sales, marketing and distribution. After nominations were received, Glass Magazine staff members prepared a packet for each judge that includes information and photographs of the entries. Judges were not allowed to vote in the categories in which their company had been nominated.For the 2009 program, entries will be limited only to those completed from May 15, 2008, to next year's deadline. Glass Magazine welcomes new category suggestions for its fourth annual awards. Send your ideas to Matt Slovick, editor in chief, at

Best Industry Innovation, small/medium company
Liquid crystal switchable glass >> Elmont Glass Co.

In its 11th year of touring, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is a nonprofit mobile Pro Audio and HD video recording facility that provides hands-on experiences for students of all ages. Its custom designed and installed liquid crystal switchable glass sliding doors offer privacy on demand as the glass switches from clear to opaque at the flip of a switch. The doors feature a STC [sound transmission class] rating using laminated glass that isolates the recording studios on the bus. Elmont Glass of Garden City Park, N.Y., supplied the glass.The company has supplied liquid-crystal switchable glass for yachts, storefronts, conference rooms, tops of elevators and Lockheed Martin's Center of Innovation in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.The switchable glass can eliminate the use of shades, curtains or blinds. The liquid crystal in the glass helps protect items such as furnishings, carpets and displays from ultraviolet damage as well as the view of others. According to the company Web site, the randomly aligned liquid crystal molecules disperse light. When voltage is applied, the same molecules arrange themselves in a specific direction to permit parallel light to pass through the glass, allowing vision.The tour bus officials found Elmont Glass not while driving down the street but by surfing the Web."Someone from the John Lennon organization basically called me up, and I said 'How can I help you?' "says Glen Greenberg, president, Elmont Glass. "They said they were thinking about using the switchable glass and asked if I'd like to come down and meet the John Lennon bus. I said, 'Fantastic, yes, I'd be thrilled.' "The design, fabrication and planning took from the end of 2007 to early 2008, Greenberg says. Once the company got on site, it took less than a week to finish the project."They are also into promoting peace and music," Greenberg says. "Their buttons read: Imagine Peace. The switchable glass is a nice, attractive edge to put on the bus. Magic glass on the magic bus."To read about the bus and upcoming stops, go to

Best Industry Innovation, large company
Spacia vacuum glazing unit >> Pilkington

An insulating glass unit with a combination of a thin profile and superior U-value, ideal for restoration of historical buildings, has made it to North America.Spacia, developed and manufactured by Nippon Sheet Glass in Japan, is the first sealed, vacuum IG unit that provides twice the thermal insulation of a conventional unit, four times the insulation of single pane glass in a slender profile, according to a release. "The best part of it is that you're getting the solar control of a low-E insulating unit in a 6-millimeter unit," says Rachel Hepner, marketing and communications manager, Pilkington, Toledo. "For historical buildings, you don't have to change the integrity of the window sashes in order to get better performance."The first successful fabrication of vacuum glazing occurred in 1989 at the University of Sydney. Since 1994, the university has worked with Nippon Sheet Glass Co. on the commercialization of vacuum glazing. In 1996, NSG launched its commercial vacuum glazing product, Spacia. At the American Institute for Architects Conference in 2008, Pilkington announced the product's availability in North America."Both architectural firms and glazing contractors have shown an extreme amount of interest," says Connie LaFayette, product manager for building products, Pilkington. "The product is helpful in meeting the energy codes of today and in the future."Spacia uses low-E glass and a thin vacuum space to achieve its superior thermal performance. The 0.2 mm vacuum gap minimizes heat flow due to the conductance and convection between the two lites of glass, while the low-E restricts the radiation of heat flow. The construction significantly reduces HVAC cooling loads, provides sound insulation and can ultimately make a building more energy efficient. Spacia is produced in Japan, and each project is custom built.

Best plant
Wausau, Wis. >> Linetec

Linetec's culture is based on its 11 Core Values actively communicated and managed to achieve high financial performance, customer satisfaction and a positive work environment. Since the Core Values program was enacted eight years ago, the company's Occupational Safety and Health Administration incident rate has improved more than 75 percent. This year's current OSHA recordable incident rate is 0.6, equivalent to each employee getting injured once every 166 years, says Tammy Schroeder, marketing specialist, Linetec. The 11 Core Values include: a safe and enjoyable workplace environment; strong customer focus; respect for the individual; continuous improvements in products, services and business processes; environmentally responsible; open communication; ownership and pride; teamwork; honesty and integrity; opportunities based on performance; and coaching and training. "Linetec has a long-standing history of values-based management," says Rick Marshall, president, Linetec. "We provide a safe and enjoyable workplace for our employees and coaching, training and opportunities based on performance. We continually improve our products, services and business processes. And, we maintain a strong customer focus."The company also offers incentives in the form of free meals and extra vacation time when employees meet safety, productivity and reliability goals. Within the past year Linetec has made several changes within its plant, including balancing air flow and reclaiming process heat for general facility heat in order to save energy and make the environment more comfortable for employees by removing the negative air pressure. The company also has implemented several ergonomic designs into its manufacturing process to reduce the risk of repetitive injuries, such as customized lifts and roller systems to minimize package handling and installation of miniature overhead cranes to assist with moving and lifting large fabricated parts. In order to remain competitive, Linetec focuses on continuous improvement using the tools of Lean Six Sigma. The company started using Six Sigma six years ago, and since that time Linetec has achieved an average of $1 million in new benefits each year.

Best Retail Showroom
Burnsville, Minn. >> DEsigned Glass Inc.

DEsigned Glass Inc., Burnsville, Minn., opened its 40-square-foot show-room in July 2007, doubling its space. The showroom features three main sections: shower door, mirror and closet shelving that displays glass shelves and inserts. "Walking into our showroom lets the simple elegance of glass shine," says Erica Chandler, chief financial officer, DEsigned Glass Inc. "We display all of our glass in realistic applications, which allows the customers' imaginations to go wild, allowing color to accent the glass." To display sample product applications, DEsigned Glass brought in tile companies to create built-in individual shower bays. Buyers can visualize how shower enclosures will look after installation. The 2007 Crystal Achievement Award-winning steam frameless shower enclosure with integrated steam panel transom is included in this part of the showroom.In the mirror section, pre-cut mirrors with tile borders show how DEsigned Glass can cut mirrors and an affiliated tile company frames them with coordinating tile. Other highlights include glass-topped bathroom vanity with full-size mirror and glass vessel sink, glass cabinet doors for buffets and kitchens, lots of stained glass and glass shelves bonded to mirrors for bars and curio cabinets. A halogen-lit area displays the large selection of glass the company offers. "A showroom is an often overlooked, but excellent selling tool," says Robert Struble, an awards judge and business communications manager, Performance Glazings and Growth Initiatives, PPG Industries, Pittsburgh. "It can demonstrate product features, help upsell and establish accurate customer expectations. DEsign's investment in this showroom demonstrates their customer commitment. "

Best Mirror Installation/Residential, small/medium company
Crystal Visions >> GlasTile Inc.

When a Salt Lake City homeowner wanted to add a bright and fun element to her living fireplace as part of a new home addition, designer Vivian Dowsett, Salt Lake City, turned to GlasTile Inc., Greensboro, N.C. GlasTile supplied its Crystal Visions mirrored line of glass tiles to surround the fireplace. "The result is a mesmerizing installation reflecting present light and bouncing that light from within the color of the tile," says Barbara Cashman, president. "The color intensifies and plays with the light to create an effect unattainable with flat mirror."Crystal Visions was designed by Cashman and manufactured by GlasTile at its Greensboro facility. Crystal Visions is created through handmade fused glass tiles backed with a clear mirror, cut to size and hand-applied to the individual tile. "The process is labor intensive, but results in a dynamic finished product unique to the industry," Cashman says. "We make mirrors artistic and fascinating, an impact that we believe has previously been underestimated and underused."

Best Mirror Installation/Residential, large company
Mirrorscapes mirror frames >> Inspirations by Moen

Inspirations by Moen, North Olmsted, Ohio, developed Mirrorscapes, a line of mirror frames for wall-mounted, plate-glass mirrors. "Customers realize that details make the difference in their home design," says Tim Bitterman, group marketing manager for Inspirations by Moen and Donner. "Mirrorscapes allows anyone to easily and affordably create a custom look ... and make a striking statement in the bath." The Mirrorscapes collection includes five different styles of frames to fit most wall-mounted, plate glass mirrors. The frames are available in a variety of metallic finishes that allow for coordination with faucets or bath accessories, and wood finishes that coordinate with cabinetry and trim. A paintable version is available for further customization.Installation, using a proprietary installation system, can be done quickly and easily, according to a company release. Installation templates position the mounting brackets, ensuring proper alignment of the frame straights and decorative corners. No angled miter cuts are necessary. "The system is nearly error-proof," Bitterman says. "The template pieces ensure perfect alignment, while the decorative corner frame pieces cover straight-end frame pieces to disguise most cutting errors."Mirrorscapes Mirror Frames are backed by a lifetime limited warranty and are available nationwide at kitchen and bathroom wholesalers.

Most Innovative Bath Enclosure
Steam Frameless Shower Enclosures >> DEsigned Glass Inc.

Erica Chandler, chief financial officer, DEsigned Glass Inc., Burnsville, Minn., states simply that the company has taken an item that is necessary in a steam door-the transom-and added the "wow factor. "The innovation is that the operating transom is fabricated into the glass panel or door. This offers new design options and additional sales opportunities by the new and distinct look."It doesn't impact the height of the panel or door," Chandler says. "With the old-style transom, we had a maximum. Sometimes you'd only have 51/2 feet to walk through. The great part is that it's incorporated into existing glass, so it not only adds to the height we can use on glass, it's kind of a decorative element by strategically placing it either in the panel or door."Chandler says the first such enclosure was installed at Christmas time 2007. Since then, customers are being told and shown pictures."Everybody who was going to do [a steam shower enclosure] jumped at it because it's so new and unique," Chandler says. DEsigned Glass put a display in its showroom in June. "Anyone who sees it falls in love with it," she says.Chandler says Agalite Shower & Bath Enclosures of Pueblo, Colo., came up with the concept and "threw" the idea at DEsigned Glass."They sort of use us as guinea pigs," Chandler says. "They said, 'We'd like to have you try a couple of these.' As soon as we did, it took off. And they have the machinery to fabricate the glass."It's versatile, and we can create the sizing ourselves. It can be an art element. We have a couple different shapes, depending on what fits the customers' needs and wants."

Most Innovative Commercial Doors or Door Components
NX-8900 Architectural Terrace Door >> Traco

Cranberry Township, Pa.-based Traco's new NX-8900 Architectural Terrace Door brings energy efficiency to mid- to high-rise condominium complexes, apartment buildings, hotel/motel and office buildings."We've improved the energy efficiency of this product by 20 [percent] to 25 percent," says Joshua Early, product manager, Traco. "It's one of the first doors tested to the new AAMA requirements. It has the most robust hardware in the market. The whole thing beams high quality."The door is built with Traco's NexGen technology. The NexGen thermal barrier system is an enhanced thermal break in the frame and panel of the product that separates the aluminum from the outside environment and the inside environment. The NexGen energy spacer is a warm edge spacer that separates the two panes of glass of an insulating glass unit. Early says the door is used primarily in new construction. "Multiple family applications love terrace doors, especially in high-rise buildings, which are the major fit for this product," he says. "Although, it can be used universally. That's one advantage of being custom."The increased energy performance can help the end user reduce overall energy consumption. The product also can assist architects and/or owners to obtain a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification. The NX-8900 is tested to the new AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-08 Standard - North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights. It has an AAMA designation of an ATD-AW50 rating with 15 psf water performance, according to a Traco release. These performance values allow for larger door openings and better daylighting, which also can reduce energy costs. The door features three-dimensional adjustable hinges, durable noncorrosive hardware and the ability to have dual color or dual finish option. A variety of handles styles and finishes are made available to accommodate any architectural application in the market. It can be used in custom field applications with two frame depths of 31/4 inches and 45/8 inches and with an integral transom and mullion configuration.

Most Innovative Commercial Window, small/medium company
Nerman Museum >> Carter Glass Inc.

The architects wanted the lobby of the Nerman Museum to appear completely open to the outdoors, emphasizing the cantilevered gallery structure 16 feet above the main entrance. The design challenge was to provide adequate windload resistance and thermal performance while minimizing use of opaque materials in the glass wall."This project was very custom as Carter Glass was challenged by the architectural team to provide an all glass finwall system with oversize glass panels on average 72 inches by 192 inches to meet the desired architectural intent of the project for the exterior first floor faade," says Terry Carter, president, Carter Glass, Kansas City, Mo. "This resulted in Carter aligning with Oldcastle [Glass] Perrysburg, who assigned a full-time project manager, Tony Kramer, and setting up a custom fabrication area to handle the oversize glass and to attain the precision needed for this project's success."The glazing system used to achieve those criteria was a customized Oldcastle Finwall with 3/4-inch fins supporting the full span. All of the glass was low-iron float. The insulating glass lites are structurally bonded to the fins with silicone adhesive. To lighten the appearance of the support piers, a translucent white Vanceva interlayer by Solutia, St. Louis, was used in the outboard laminate of the adjacent insulating glass spandrels. The spandrel panels are too long to be coated with ceramic frit, so a white GlassKote opacifier was used."The architect wanted to achieve a clear and unobstructed view of the gallery," Carter says. "By use of the oversized 16-foot tall ultra clear glass units and the structural fin wall, I believe the mission was accomplished. ... When you approach this space you have this feeling that the wall is very inviting and people-friendly due to the use of the low iron glass and minimal aluminum that was used on the project."Achieving adequate retention strength by bonding to a 3/4-inch glass fin required minimizing, and precisely controlling, the width of the butt joints between IG units. Those joints are more than 192 inches long. On the other exterior wall, Oldcastle Glass provided the all-glass Oldcastle insulated stackwall system with spider fittings using clear over low-E for the facade glass and clear glass backup fins. This area is known as "the ice cube," Carter says. The interior space was fabricated using oversize 1/2-inch tempered glass that had the same size challenges as the exterior along with suspended transom glass, cantilevered glass fins, and panic door hardware.Kyu Sung Woo Architect, Cambridge, Mass., designed the museum. The architect of record is Gould Evans Associates, Kansas City, Kan. Allied Glass Experts LLC, Kansas City, Kan., was the glazing consultants. J.E. Dunn Construction Co., Kansas City, Kan., was the general contractor. Oldcastle Glass Inc. manufactured the glazing system and Carter Glass Inc. installed it."This project truly utilized a full team approach from the owner, architect, general contractor, consultant, glazing contractor and fabricator," Carter says.

Most Innovative Commercial Window, large company
Thermal impact windows and doors for coastal areas >> Traco
The full line of thermal aluminum impact coastal area windows and doors from Traco, Cranberry Township, Pa., has certifications from the American Architectural Manufacturer Association, Schaumberg, Ill; the National Fenestration Rating Council, Greenbelt, Md.; Energy Star, Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.; the Florida Building Code, Tallahassee; and the Texas Department of Insurance, Austin."The 940 window series features differentiation in impact products with an insulated glass package along with a thermally broken frame," says Robin S. Randall, vice president of marketing. "This Energy Star, energy-efficient, aluminum product line provides a unique solution to the coastal markets from Long Island to Texas. With the heightened awareness and criticality of energy conservation throughout the country, Traco's thermal impact product offering has the capability to perform in multiple residential and heavy commercial market segments"The impact series is an addition to the Traco Biscayne Shutterless line of products and satisfies a growing demand of thermally broken products in coastal areas. The 23/4-inch thermally broken frame keeps the inside environment comfortable regardless of the outside weather. The aluminum frames are ideal for coastal markets because they are structurally strong and won't rot, bow, warp or fade in heavy rain or blazing sun. The insulating laminated glass provides an added layer of protection from the cold and heat. The Shutterless thermal products eliminate the need to spend time putting up plywood or waste storage space when not in use and provide continual added protection. Biscayne products include single-hung, sliding, casement and fixed windows, sliding glass doors and terrace doors.

Most Innovative Curtain Wall System, large company, small/medium company
Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies >> Viracon, Arcadia Products Inc.

The category of Most Innovative Curtain Wall Systems accepted nominations for both large and small medium companies. Both winners-Viracon, Owatonna, Minn. (large) and Arcadia Products Inc., Northbrook, Ill.-had a hand in the same project, the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago."The curtain wall work at the Spertus Museum in Chicago is a perfect example of the innovational technology the glass and glazing industry in the U.S. is capable of achieving on a consistent basis," says Les Young, awards judge and project manager, W&W Glass, Nanuet, N.Y.To optimize natural light and emphasize the role light plays in the Jewish religion and culture, Chicago architects Ron Krueck and Mark Sexton designed a 10-story faade of folded glass to cover the 155,000-square-foot building. The faade contains 726 pieces of glass in 556 shapes that were fabricated by Viracon. Arcadia was the prime curtain wall contractor for the project, including the engineering, fabrication and nine-month installation. "From an execution standpoint, what made this project different compared to others was how critical the upfront communication was between Viracon, Arcadia Products and Krueck + Sexton," says Bob Carlson, sales representative, Viracon. "Based on the total number of glass units and the extensive number of shapes, communication was vital to the glass component." The architects selected clear, low-iron glass with minimal distortion from roller waves to maximize the transparency of the facade. The complexity of the glass fabrication necessitated Arcadia to provide CAD drawings for each lite of glass on the project. The insulating glass makeup is 3/8-inch PPG Starphire with Viracon's VE-85 coating and silkscreen on No. 2 exterior-1/2-inch airspace-9/16-inch heat-strengthened laminated interior. The glass was shop-glazed in single and double lite units by Texas Wall Systems of Dallas."The modules on the job were basically 4 feet by 7 feet in different shapes on the building," says Robert Martin, president of Arcadia. "Some of the 4-by-7 pieces of glass cantilevered over the next 4-by-7 unit, which made it a challenge in fabrication, shipping and installation."The 181-foot-by-80-foot glass faade tilts in three dimensions, creating an aesthetic that changes and sparkles with the sun's position. To control solar heat transmission, the architects specified Viracon's VE-85 coating, a high-performance low-E coating. The second surface of the configuration is 40 percent covered with a white dot ceramic frit pattern, which further helps control heat and glare and creates light play within the building. The coating, silkscreen and glass configuration helped the building qualify for silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The Y-mullions of the typical glass module span 14 feet at the typical floors and 21 feet at the ninth and 10th floors. A glass "skirt" projecting from the main facade provides a canopy over the recessed main entrance. The facility was built in one of the last open spaces on the famed South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The museum officials sought a design that would respect the historic architecture of its significant surroundings while also looking forward. Some city officials were concerned about what the building would do to the look of the cityscape."It really has enhanced it greatly in the eyes of those critics," Martin says. "It's magnificent. Everyone is thrilled with it."Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin wrote, "The building will strike a remarkable balance between respecting the row and making a powerful contemporary statement.""The architectural firm of Krueck + Sexton put a great deal of thought into the role of the glass, as well as how the design worked with the surroundings and complimented the function of the building." says Christine Shaffer, marketing manager, Viracon.

Most Innovative Curtain Wall Application
Uni-Wall Curtain Wall, United States Courthouse >> Architectural Glazing Technologies

Moshe Safdie's vision for the United States Courthouse in Springfield, Mass., included a complex system of cable-hung curtain wall, horizontally framed curtain wall, and fully integrated skylights. Light wells serpentine throughout the building and an asymmetrical concave skylight highlights the building entry. The structure features an inverted cable-hung curtain wall system.The cable-hung structure is mounted on the outside of the building, while the glass is hung on the inside. Architectural Glazing Technologies, Waterboro, Maine, designed custom windload anchors machined from stainless steel. The curtain wall system is constructed of an aluminum clad, custom steel T framing system designed and engineered by AGT. The installation of the anchors was closely coordinated with the contractor to mount the anchors to pre-cast imbeds, with pre-located, threaded rods. The resulting system supports the dead load of the glass structure entirely by cables hung from the ceiling, allowing it to "float" at floor level.One particularly striking feature of the building is a structurally glazed, cantilevered glass perch, designed as a place of solitary reflection called the "Judge's reflection room."The concave skylight at the entry pavilion sets the architectural tone for the building, with its asymmetrical shape and seamless connection to the horizontally framed curtain wall that surrounds it. The entire pavilion was designed to meet the deflected geometry of the steel subframe, which resulted from the asymmetric shape of the design."The thing that makes the Springfield courthouse curtain wall design so unique, is that it's a suspended system supported by very thin stainless steel rods," says Mike Maguire, chief operating officer, Architectural Glazing Technologies. "The rods support the dead load weight of horizontal steel frame Ts, and the large glass panels, from the roof of the building." All of the supporting members and stainless steel rods are mounted on the outside of the system, along with custom-designed stainless steel wind-load anchor "bullets." The bullets were fully engineered by AGT to connect precisely to pre-cast imbed locations, he says. "The suspended and inverted design of the wall gives the building a very light look architecturally, making it appear to float above the floor," Maguire says. "The thing we enjoy about working with Moshe Safdie each time, is that they like to push the limits of what is possible with engineering and design."

Most Innovative Curtain Wall Components, small/medium company
Baylor University Medical Center > Meltdown Glass Art & Design

Meltdown Glass Art & Design, Chandler, Ariz., pushed the envelope of large-scale faade artwork with its "Elements of Nature" installation at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas. The 115-foot-long installation consists of four pieces cast with dichroic glass, each 12 feet tall."There are very few large-scale, cast painted art installations on the exterior faades of buildings anywhere," says B J Katz, art director and principal for Meltdown Glass Art & Design. "This type of installation provides a dramatic art experience for the public, which transforms the urban art experience. It also melds architecture and fine art into a symbolic sculptural art form."The installation is part of Baylor University's renovation of their downtown emergency medical center. Part of the goal of the project was to give the hospital a beautiful presence on the street for pedestrians, Katz says. "After visiting the site and seeing the building faade and areas where the artwork would go, I read the hospital Web site to understand [its] corporate mission. I created the artwork to bring the minimalist beauty of 'Elements of Nature' to the inner city," Katz says.

Most Innovative Curtain Wall Components, large company
BrightBuild light-transmitting concrete >> Schott North America Inc.

Schott North America Inc., Elmsford, N.Y., developed BrightBuild, a light-transmitting concrete product. BrightBuild panels incorporate thousands of glass fiber optic strands inside the material that transmit natural or artificial light into all spaces enclosed by the concrete. The panels retain the positive attributes of high-quality concrete and can be used in all internal and external non-support walls. "Most new architectural products offer incremental advances on earlier technologies, but our new light transmitting concrete boldly takes concrete into a new dimension," says Robert Hughes, sales manager, Schott Fiber Optic Lighting Products. BrightBuild provides architects with another way to bring natural light into interior spaces, Hughes says. "Up until now, windows have been the only option. By adding what is seemingly an opaque exterior wall, the new material greatly expands architects' abilities to brighten up any interior space with sunlight, while providing functional and aesthetic benefits," he says. The panels can be produced in units up to 4 centimeters thick and cut to the length and width specified by the architect. The product is well suited to a number of interior and exterior architectural applications, including backlit panels or walls for interior spaces with low ambient light; walls that transmit natural daylight into the interior; facades where designers want both solid and transparent elements as well as furniture and interior elements. In addition, the panels can be used as a security element, as they allow views of the shadows of people behind a wall. The product was developed by Aron Losonczi of Litracon of Hungary.

Most Innovative Decorative Glass Application
Dichrolam color changing dichroic laminated glass >> John Blazy Designs

According to its Web site, Karlsberger Architects of Columbus, Ohio, has provided planning and design services for 70 children's hospitals across the United States and Canada. The firm's goal is to create facilities that will support the healing of the mind, body and spirit. When the architects needed to add dynamic color to the new Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., they chose Dichrolam color changing dichroic laminated glass from John Blazy Designs, Cleveland, for the glass panels in the skylights and fin walls. John Blazy said he became part of the project through his association with Igor Beaufils of Specialty Architectural Products in Toledo. The specifying glazier was Juba Aluminum Products, Concord, N.C.The building made the March cover of Healthcare Design magazine. Susan Long, vice president and director of interior design for Karlsberger said in the article: "It is important for a pediatric space to be dynamic, for patients and for staff, and the shifting colors add a little sense of discovery to the building that keeps it fresh. The transparency of the building is also important, as all the natural light entering the building really helps maintain a connection to the outdoors. ... We knew the fins would throw light, but we didn't know how much light they would throw, so it was a pleasant surprise to see how much color would enter the patient rooms."Dichrolam is optically identical to metal oxide dichroic glass but without the price, size and fabrication limitations due to its laminated nature, Blazy says. "The most amazing visual affect of our glass is that it actually changes its color in full spectrum color shifts according to viewing angle, both in the reflected color and the transmitted color," he says.Without using pigments or dyes, the color is "structural" in nature, like the colors from the gemstone, opal. The sloped glazing in the 44-inch-wide skylight panels at the hospital are the common code makeup of 1/4-inch tempered clear over heat-strengthened laminated glass with Dichrolam crystal sea green (3D wave texture) in the core of the IG unit. The green Dichrolam reflects greens and blues while transmitting below in bright purples and magentas that shift into orange and yellow. Safety laminated Dichrolam in satin red and green also is used in the vertical fin walls, interior handrails and as decorative elements in conference rooms and chapel areas. The process allows dichroic panels to be made in seamless massive panel sizes up to 52 inches by 144 inches.

Most innovative LEED Certified Glass Application
5.4.7 Arts Center >> Vitro America

The Studio 804 of the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Urban Planning introduced its Sustainable Prototype as the 5.4.7 Arts Center to the people of Greensburg, Kan., and the surrounding communities. May 4 was the year anniversary of the F5 tornado that devastated Greensburg, leaving hundreds homeless and 11 dead.The graduate students who represent Studio 804 chose this project as a way to "give back" to the community and to encourage the entire city to rebuild in an environmentally friendly way.The project is expected to receive Platinum level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The exterior of the structure is reclaimed wood from deconstructed ammunition buildings from the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant constructed in the 1940s.The glass design was utilized in an effort to preserve the natural beauty of the revived material by wrapping the exterior of the building in glass, while simultaneously creating a thermal blanket around the building.Vitro's Mexicali facility provided its 10-millimeter thick monolithic green Tintex glass for Studio 804. The glass was fabricated at its facility in Dallas. Each tempered lite has four or more holes drilled and flat polished edges. This glass has a visible light transmittance of 66.8 percent. The percentage of ultraviolet, visible and near infrared energy transmitted through the glass is 32.7 percent. "The Studio 804 architects selected the Vitro Tintex Glass for the purpose of UV protection and to create an energy saving thermal blanket, never truly expecting the glass design to be the most 'eye-catching' feature of the building," says Alice Dickerson, director of sales and marketing, Vitro, Atlanta. "Without the glass exterior, which completely covers the entire exterior of the art center, it would be a very simple little wood structure, without any visual appeal. Nothing is better than gaining energy efficiency, yet still being able to accomplish a stunning visual effect."The distinct design characteristics of this project, specifically those in support of sustainable building, gained the attention of the Discovery Channel that used the filming of this project to launch its new program this summer: "Build It Green." "It is not unusual to see structural glass walls, we see them all the time; however, it is very unique to see an entire structure, even a small one, completely 'wrapped in glass', which is exactly what the architects designed for the Art Center in Greensburg," says Charles Witherington, vice president and general manager, Vitro America.

Most Innovative Industry Specific Software
DaVinci Works GridLock Program >> Opticut Technologies Inc.

Kingston, Ontario-based Opticut Technologies Inc. developed the DaVinci Works GridLock Program to reduce the time and expense of designing and making windows with complex grill configurations.The software captures measurements required to construct grills. With drop-down selections, users can choose from pre-defined window styles, arrange them in the desired configuration, choose the style and shape of grills, and align windows and grills with adjacent sections, according to a company release. Using the completed design, a full-scale image is projected on a work surface where the user traces the image. Grills are aligned by highlighting and clicking the alignment control button. Measurements can be printed in the form of "cutting lists" or saved in a file that can be imported into an automatic grid notching machine. Opticut's general manager, John Ferreira, helped developed the program after he noticed a lack of software for complex grill configurations. "After developing an automated grid notching machine, it became apparent that a more efficient method was needed to enter the information for the non-orthogonal shapes and the ones with irregular spacing," Ferreira says. "This was the impetus needed to develop GridLock." Once the process was under way it was obvious that the same system could also be used to automatically align grid bars between window frames. The next step was to incorporate a full scale pattern projection to help in the manufacturing process, Ferreira says. "All in all, the time needed to design, price and manufacture complex window grid patterns is now achieved in a fraction of the time prior to GridLock and with a much higher degree of accuracy," Ferreira says.

Most Innovative Plant Equipment
Automatic Glass Load/Unload Machine Model SK48 for IG >> Smart Line Systems
Automatic Glass Load/Unload Machine Model SK48 for IG glass from Smart Line Systems, Raleigh, N.C., speeds up the process of loading and unloading straight off the line and makes it safer for employees. This machine eliminates the need for the two laborers typically assigned to this kind of job. It can load glass from the conveyor to the rack or the reverse in 10 seconds. It's capable of handling units up to 120 pounds and 50 inches wide by 96 inches tall. Two high-speed, heavy-duty belts transfer the glass to the rack. A push bar automatically loads the glass to the rack, and as each piece is loaded, the machine moves the rack back one space in preparation for the next sheet. The machine automatically detects when the glass rack is full and notifies the operator by switching on a light. Ergonomically designed with a plug-and-play operation that provides a seamless interface with existing glass lines the machine utilizes an AC motor to save energy, says David Tang, CEO, Smart Line Systems. "Because it is very light, as much as 20 percent to 30 percent less than regular machines' weight and lower than 34 inches, it works more efficiently and uses less energy." There are several off-the-shelf glass handling machines that do this kind of work, says Robert Struble, awards judge and business communications manager, Performance Glazings and Growth Initiatives, PPG Industries Inc., Pittsburgh. "However, then I realized this is for IGs fresh from the line. Now that's a whole different animal. Wow!"

Most Innovative Interior Glass Application, small/medium company
Cielo Restaurant >> Bentel & Bentel Architects

Bentel & Bentel Architects, Locust Valley, N.Y. , broke the design mold at the Cielo Restaurant atop the Boca Raton (Fla.) Resort and Club. Designers abandoned the Spanish style architecture of the 1920s-era luxury resort in exchange for a sleek, modern look achieved through ample use of interior glazing. "When we laid out the restaurant, we wanted to make you feel like you were on a cloud. ... We weren't scared to use glass in this context, even though the resort is fairly conservative," says Carol Bentel, partner. "We want people to step off the elevator and know they are in a totally different environment than when they got in."As the elevator doors open to the restaurant, visitors first look out onto an impressive glass wall, and then step out onto a glass floor lit from underneath. As they continue past the maitre de stand, they pass the curved bar that features a wine rack of frosted and clear glass and enter the main restaurant area highlighted with glass railings and partitions. Sliding glass doors lead to the VIP chef's table; floor-to-ceiling frosted glass conceals the wait stations; and custom mirrors are located in every bathroom stall. Even the table tops feature glass, and black glass doors separate a private dining area"[Angela Hartnett, head chef,] wanted tables that didn't require table cloths all the time," Bentel says. "Wood wouldn't work, because of the style of the restaurant. So, we went for glass tables. They really add a new level of glass design. The restaurant features clear glass table tops, while the chef's table features a frosted glass. The Iron Shop in Broomall, Pa., supplied all of the glass on the project. The glass floor consists of a 1-inch thick laminated structural glass with a white interlayer. The glass railings featured 3/8-inch tempered, acid-etched glass with a Diamond-Fusion protective coating, and custom bent pieces. The glass partitions were 1/2-inch laminated glass with a frosted interlayer.

Most Innovative Interior Glass Application, large  company
Mirona >> Schott

The Advanced Materials division of Schott, Elmsford, N.Y., introduced Mirona at the 2008 American Institute of Architects National Convention during May in Boston.Mirona transformation glass is a mineral glass coated on both sides with an optical interference layer to enable both reflection and transmission. Mirona float glass is available in thicknesses ranging from 2 millimeters to 112 mm. It is available in sizes ranging from 1,770 mm by 1,220 mm, 3,180 mm by 1,770 mm, and 3,770 mm by 1,770 mm.The glass functions as both a decorative element and a display. It appears as a mirror when there is no light behind it, but becomes a totally transparent pane of glass when lit from behind."Wall-mounted flat-screen TVs-now ubiquitous throughout the world-have become the 'black holes' of interior decor, especially when they're not in use," said Donald Press, general manager, Schott's architectural glass business, in a release. "With Mirona panels, however, a TV in its off state is transformed into a mirror, a much more attractive decorative element."Available as normal window glass, borosilicate heat-resistant glass and gray glass, Mirona can be processed into laminated safety glass. It also can be supplied tempered and as low-iron glass. It can be cleaned easily with regular glass cleaning solutions.Applications include retail displays, architectural partitions and cover panels for television sets and computer screens. "Mirona transformation glass offers designers and architects unlimited potential for creating magical and stylish effects," Press says. "Imagine how fascinating a lighting fixture would be if it were to appear as a beautiful mirror when turned off, and yet illuminate a room when turned on. Mirona transformation glass offers endless possibilities for use anywhere the background changes from dark to light."

Most Innovative Skylight
Pyramid House >> Acurlite Structural Skylights

The design of the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas so intrigued a man, he wanted a replica for his home on the golf course he owned in Conklin, N.Y.About two years later, Pyramid House, a four-sided structurally glazed house, rose three stories from its 56-foot-by-56-foot-base. Acurlite Structural Skylights, Berwick, Pa., provided the four-sided, structurally glazed, commercial skylight system. "From the time we ordered material, to the time it was put up, was about 16 weeks," says Ron Palombo, president, Acurlite. "There was a lot of preplanning. The extreme detailing of issues was all worked out before we even started to order metal."Oldcastle Glass, Santa Monica, Calif., fabricated the 15Ú16-inch insulating, tinted glass for the project, which was completed near the end of 2007. About 5,000 square feet of glass encloses the pyramid. Palombo says he doesn't expect any wayward golf balls to be able to "break the house.""We tried to match the glass of the Luxor as closely as possible with the tint," says Tom Kozak, director of sales, Acurlite. "We used spandrel glass to hide the steel structure."Acurlite designed a steel supporting substructure for the project minimizing the size of the rafters that constitute the skylight structure while handling the large loads of the house. The complexity of the structure demanded precision from the team, Kozak says. No exterior pressure plates hold the glass.

Most Innovative Web site, small/medium company, >> Technical Glass Products
These two visually rich Web sites from Technical Glass Products, Kirkland, Wash., provide specialty glazing solutions for architects, designers, specifiers, glaziers and other building professionals. The sites include several interactive features, such as's Product SpeciFire. Users can visit the page, answer a few questions, and a filtering system will identify which products are recommended as well as which products are not recommended for their project.Both sites use flash graphics to display various product applications in three-dimensions that show profile close-ups, as well as photo galleries with a number of images for architectural inspiration. "We work with a lot of architects and felt that our Web sites should be visually engaging," says Jeff Razwick, vice president of business development, TGP. "From the home pages throughout the entire sites, the goal was to provide design ideas they can use, and easy access to product information. There's a lot of detail there to help the specifier and glazing contractor also." For users who want to continue their education, the sites provide a registration page for the American Institute of Architects online courses, as well as information on specifications and industry standards. Additionally, both sites feature a distributor locator map with search functionality and a glossary of terms for users new to the industry.

Most Innovative Web site, large company >> Traco
Traco, Cranberry Township, Pa., launched its Web site for its 65th anniversary. The site is designed for everyone in the fenestration industry, including architects, distributors, specifiers, contractors and consumers. "We want them to get the latest news, innovations, information and everything that they'll need for a project," says Denise Abraham, Traco's manager of marketing communications. The new site features several useful tools, including Electronic Traco Ordering, an online pricing system for commercial, coastal and residential products. The Speed Product Zone tool contains architectural and commercial downloadable specifications, details and drawings. The page includes a filtering system that helps identify which products will be best for an application. Users can visit the page, answer a few questions about their project, and the filtering system will identify which products are ideal for that project. "Because we do have such a large portfolio of products it helps guide [users] in the right direction. It doesn't pick a product but it narrows the selection," Abraham says. Additionally, the SPZ page features links to building codes, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification and Americans with Disabilities Act standards. "It's difficult to craft a single Web site to serve the diverse needs of architects and other channel players, such as dealers, distributors, etc., doing both residential and commercial work," says Robert Struble, awards judge and business communications manager , Performance Glazings and Growth Initiatives, PPG Industries Inc., Pittsburgh. "However, the new site from Traco makes it look all too easy ... and seamless to boot. Comprehensive and still intuitive, the site delivers a dizzying array of content resources and tools. It will no doubt be a benchmark for other building product manufacturers."

Most Innovative Door Application, large company
Hawa-Puro >> Hafele America Co.

Hafele America Co., Archdale, N.C., developed the Hawa-Puro 100-150 sliding hardware system for all-glass sliding doors. The system features upper tracks that can be integrated into sheetrock and suspended ceilings, hiding the suspension. "Hawa is trying to appeal to the purist inside the design community who is looking for products that are simple to use, non-intrusive in their appearance, yet complementary in their design intent," says Michael Schreiber, product manager, Hafele America Co. "Typically when designers and architects utilize glass in their projects they try to reduce the amount of exposed hardware to a minimum in order to take advantage of the transparency of the material glass. "Patent-pending wedge suspension with a wedge that slides into the trolley body, allows for height adjustment when the glass is on or off the rollers. The suspension accommodates glass thicknesses of 5/16 inch, 3/8 inch, and up to 1/2 inch.Doors weighing as much as 330 pounds slide smoothly and quietly on high quality ball bearings. "Trolleys are produced with precision ball bearings that guarantee a superior operation of the door," Schreiber says. "The operating forces under a full load of 330 pounds are less than 10 newtons, or 2.247 pounds. Considering the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, this system is well below the 22.2-newton, or 5-pound, ADA mandate."Customers can choose from two systems: a 220-pound, or 100-kilogram, system with four rollers, or the 330-pound, 150-kilogram, system with six rollers. All components are made in Switzerland and have been tested to European standards.

Most Innovative Door Application, small/medium company
Norwood 3070-CR sliding door system >> Fleetwood Windows and Doors

Customers can select from almost unlimited custom configurations of the Norwood 3070-CR, condensation resistant, multipanel sliding door system. Each panel, sliding or fixed, has a dedicated aluminum frame to hold a 50-foot wall of movable glass panels. The energy-efficient door system's polyurethane bridge between the aluminum frame and glass panel, restricts thermal conductivity. The door's standard Archetype hardware includes the patent pending recessed sliding door latch. "For over 45 years we have had to rely upon the hardware industry for a recessed sliding door latch," says Mark McCoy, vice president, Fleetwood Window and Doors, Corona, Calif. "At the turn of the century we began a lengthy design process that created one of the most innovative hardware designs. We combined the best features of the two leading hardware styles to create the Archetype hardware." Archetype's latch features 100 percent stainless steel construction with six-ply laminated steel hook and a flush pull with 1-inch deep pockets for easy gripping. Offset pull pockets, recessed into the door stile, keep the handle flush and eliminate interference with adjacent panels or pocket walls. The latch's recessed actuator requires a 90-degree turn to go from the locked to unlocked position and vice versa. Padlock icons indicate whether the door is locked or unlocked.Most Innovative Print MediaKawneer Sustainable Solutions Calendar >> Kawneer Co.Norcross, Ga.-based Kawneer released its Sustainable Calendar in January 2007 as part of an integrated comprehensive marketing campaign. The piece reinforced the company's commitment to sustainability, and introduced the key message, "Every Day You Make a Choice, Make a Choice that Counts." It showed how Kawneer products and systems can help achieve sustainability, and at the same time, reach business, performance and aesthetic goals. The calendar's green features include tips on how individuals can make choices that will positively affect the environment, such as "seal your heating ducts," "capture and reuse storm water for irrigation," and "drive the speed limit to save gas." It shows Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design registered or LEED-certified projects built using Kawneer products, contains half the number of pages of the previous year's calendar, and was printed on Forest Stewardship Council certified paper at an FSC printer.Sent to key glazing contractors and architects in the United States and Canada, each element in the calendar was developed to maintain the key message and design continuity, and serve as a yearlong reminder to people that daily choices they make really do count toward the future of our planet.

Most Innovative Comprehensive Marketing Campaign, small or medium company
TGP 2007-2008 marketing campaign >> Technical Glass Products

Technical Glass Products, Kirkland, Wash., launched a campaign to rebrand its fire-rated and architectural glazing products. The company wanted to maintain its position in the fire-rated glazing category and increase brand awareness of its non-fire-rated specialty glazing product lines. "All of our efforts focus on helping design professionals, contractors and other customers find solutions to glazing challenges," says Jeff Razwick, vice president of business development, Technical Glass Products. "This includes Web sites and print advertising that reflect both our fire rated and architectural glass and framing products, continuing education through American Institute of Architects, in-person lunch and learn presentations for architectural firms, and writing informative articles for industry publications."Three new logos portray the renewed branding, and delineate different product lines to target audiences. Created to be consistent with one another to represent the company's "One Source, Many Solutions" tagline, the logos included one for fire-rated products, one for architectural products, and one for overall corporate TGP. Online campaign components include e-newsletters and redesigned Web sites, and, that use Flash graphics to demonstrate product applications. The sites contain downloadable marketing materials, distributor locator maps and a glossary of terms. As part of rebranding, the company offers an AIA Continuing Education Unit online course about specialized glazing topics and participates in special events such as a customer-appreciation dinner event during the AIA 2007 National Convention and product donation for the Sunset Magazine Idea House. Educational videos and kits are presented during in-house AIA-accredited presentations. "TGP's entry covers all their lines, and the graphics are attractively presented-frankly, better realized than entries in this category for large companies," says Marc Fink, awards judge and sales and marketing manager, Bendheim Wall Systems, Passaic, N.J.

Most Innovative Comprehensive Marketing Campaign, large company
Kawneer Sustainable Solutions Marketing Campaign - Every Day You Make a Choice >> Kawneer Co.

In January 2008, Kawneer Co., Norcross, Ga., launched a yearlong comprehensive Sustainable Solutions campaign to demonstrate its commitment to providing sustainable solutions and inspire people to think about how the choices they make impact their environment. "We used the message, 'Every Day You Make a Choice. Make a Choice that Counts,' and carried that theme through every aspect of the campaign, down to how the materials were printed," says Karen Zipfel, director of marketing, Kawneer.To begin the campaign, the company saved paper by condensing its annual calendar to half the number of pages of the previous year's and printed it on Forest Stewardship Council certified paper at an FSC printer. The calendar shows U.S Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design registered and certified projects that use Kawneer products, and includes tips on making daily choices that will positively affect the environment.Kawneer created a Sustainable Solutions two-page-spread print ad that appeared in select magazines, and a series of image ads conveying the message that with Kawneer products, sustainability need not be sacrificed for aesthetics or performance. To reach a broad audience, online banner ads ran in conjunction with print ads.Recently, Kawneer introduced its Sustainability Toolkit featuring a detailed information packet on the company's sustainable products, LEED-registered or certified project profiles, and the most recent version of its LEED tool. The company organized the materials with tabs that carry through the campaign's theme, printed them on FSC certified paper and wrapped them with a reusable strap. The Toolkit contains a brochure, tying all information together, and the brochure and kit tabs were printed using soy inks. All components come in a reusable recycled cotton carrier bag, also displaying the campaign's message, along with an aluminum water bottle to encourage elimination of plastic water bottles."The campaign and calendar have received positive responses from our customers, the architectural community and employees," says Zipfel. "They have also helped Kawneer express our belief that choices can be made to achieve the business, performance and aesthetic goals for a building, while enhancing sustainability."

2008 Crystal Achievement Awards judges
Tony Bouquot
Director of engineering, Patio Enclosures Inc.
Macedonia, Ohio

Bob Burkhammer
Project manager and partner ,Giroux Glass
Los Angeles

Alice Dickerson
Director of sales and marketing, Vitro America

Marc Fink
Sales and marketing, Bendheim Wall Systems
Passaic, N.J.

BJ Katz
Art director/principal, Meltdown Glass Art & Design LLC
Chandler, Ariz.

Charlene Kull
Corporate communications director, C.R. Laurence Co.
Brighton, Mich.

Jim McElroy
General manager, product marketing,Therma Tru Corp.
Maumee, Ohio

John Mitchell
Director of product development, Simonton Windows
Parkersburg, W.Va.

Paul Simonich
President Innovative Glass LLC
Oklahoma City

Tim Singel
Director of residential products,Guardian Industries Corp.
Carleton, Mich.

John Stephenson
Senior associate,TVS Architects Inc.

Rob Struble
Business communications manager, growth initiatives and performance glazing, PPG Industries Inc.

Ed Trainor
Executive vice president/national purchasing director, Trainor Glass
Alsip, Ill.

Susan Trimble
Director of corporate communications, Oldcastle Glass
Santa Monica, Calif.

Kris Vockler
Vice president, ICD High Performance Coatings
Vancouver, Wash.

Mary Weddle
Global sourcing, Simonton Windows
Parkersburg, W.Va.

Les Young
Project manager, W&W Glass
Nanuet, N.Y.

Special thanks to Kenyon Stained Glass Factory Inc., Grove City, Ohio, for producing the 2008 Crystal Achievement Award plaques.

Many thanksto our Crystal Achievement Award Sponsors
ADCO Products
JLM Wholesale
Lauren Manufacturing
Unruh Fab Inc.