Sunday, June 17, 2007
—By Katy Devlin, e-Newsletter editor, e-glass weekly

For those of you who have never been able to attend GPD, Tampere, Finland, is in fact not the Oz-like glazed city pictured in the conference literature.

While the incredible faux city dreamed up by graphic designers did not greet me upon arrival, Tampere does offer some pretty impressive glass buildings. Here are some examples I’ve found in my wanderings—and I’m sure there are more. (Oh, and for those of you who have wondered about the unicyclist on the graphic—I have yet to see any on the streets—though one was pedaling around the conference hall on opening day.)

-The GPD organizers couldn’t have gotten closer to their designer’s image of a glass Oz as they did with the choice of Tampere Hall for the conference venue. With several glass-walled and roofed atriums, countless skylights, double façades, a channel glass wall and numerous examples of artfully used interior glazing, the concert hall is by far the glass Mecca of Tampere.

- Right down the street is the University of Tampere, where the GPD workshops were held on June 14. Pictured below are two of several remarkable uses of glass—the five story entry and stair well, with glass railings, and the three-story glass bridge that swoops out at least another 30 feet beyond the frame to create an interesting roof skylight.

- To the west—conveniently on my walk to the hotel—are two malls, both with glass roofs. The Tullintori Center features an arched glass roof that extends the length of the mall, and the KoskiKeskus complex features three sloped glazed rooftops over its main entrances.

- While this last image of the Orthodox Church doesn’t include a lot of glass, I thought you all might want a look at one of Tampere’s most famous sites. (Note, also that this was taken at about 8:30, with the sun still high above the horizon).
Saturday, June 16, 2007

—By Matt Slovick, editor-in-chief, Glass Magazine

This is my third day in Finland, and I've yet to see darkness.

After attending GPD sessions and writing in the press room last night, I made a stop at the welcome reception in the large tent outside of Tampere Hall and then headed to my hotel.

Cumulus Koskikatu is a 15-minute walk, and I realized it was nearing 11 at night—make that 11 p.m.—and it was still light. Sunset was 11:10, and the sun rose at 3:42 this morning. The sun will set at 11:12 this evening.

The non-session related events have experienced a few snafus. The welcome reception continued well past 10:30, when the Hall was closed. That means some attendees had to look for restroom alternatives. I had left my laptop in a locker outside the press room. I held up my key, and someone did allow me to pick up my belongings. And today, the luncheon ran out of food. However, the organizers quickly informed those of us who missed the meal that we could eat in a restaurant on the second floor of the Hall free of charge. Minor glitches in an otherwise smooth-operating event.

Even with the few issues, I've gotten a lot out of the conferences so far, including a complimentary messenger bag. The GPD bags are a glossy, shiny red and look like the bags used by pizza deliverers. They are kept closed by Velcro, and you keep hearing that distinctive sound as people open them up during the presentations. Today, when attendees were leaving the Hall to go to the tent, it looked like hundreds of pizza delivery people leaving at the same time.
Friday, June 15, 2007
—By Katy Devlin, e-Newsletter editor, e-glass weekly

I sat in a café this morning sipping my Tropicana orange juice and thinking about globalization. What else in the world would I be thinking about on a sunny morning in Tampere, Finland?

Out the window, I saw a McDonalds, next to the New York Café, across from the Coyote Bar & Grill and down the street from Gamblers’ Bar that hosts Texas Hold ‘Em games each week. I glanced up at the TV, only to find a news story, in Finnish, about the well deserved tragic fate of Paris Hilton. (I’ll save my blog about the tragic state of the news media for another time).

It’s not just the influence of America that I’m noticing here in Finland. Last night, Glass Magazine Editor Matt Slovick and I dined at Sevilla, a lovely Spanish restaurant. And the Tampere Boys Choir performed several Beatles numbers during the GPD opening session today, including one in Finnish.

This topic was ever present today during GPD, including during speeches from executives from global float glass manufacturers Guardian, Asahi Glass Co., and Nippon Sheet Glass. Russ Ebeid, CEO of Guardian, predicted during his presentation that several leading float manufacturers will exit the business in the near future, and that a Chinese float company will emerge from the current region players as a strong international competitor. More on this in our news coverage at and in the next e-glass weekly.

NGA President Phil James was right on when he recommended everyone on our staff read Thomas Freidman’s, The World is Flat. We’re entering a globalized economy—and world—whether we’re ready for it or not. And Paris Hilton is on a television set near you, anywhere in the world—whether you can stomach it or not.

In the meantime, I’m going to sign off so I can find some authentic Finnish food for dinner, but only after I stop by H&M; to do some shopping.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
—By Matt Slovick, Glass Magazine editor-in-chief

I arrived in Tampere, Finland, today to cloudy skies and then a rain storm. E-glass weekly editor Katy Devlin and I now own umbrellas from Finland—our first souvenirs.

The GPD conference starts tomorrow, giving me at least the evening to relax from the trip over.

Although I live 20 minutes from BWI, I flew out of Dulles for the better fare. I had to take three planes, but I thought that was fine since it breaks up a long trip. However, it occurred to me, as I went through the security check for the second time when I had to switch terminals and airlines, that I would have to do that three times as well.

I reached back into my lifeguard training about how to disrobe quickly before going into the water to save someone. I recently read a column by a nudist, who suggested that if everyone was a nudist, the lines at the security gates would just streak by.

As I put my laptop back into its bag, put on my shoes and tied them, grabbed my jacket and picked up my second bag, I started thinking about a “nude only” line and if I’d be brave enough to bare all in order to bypass the lines and inconvenience. Then I looked at the people around me who would also be naked. … I guess waiting isn’t that bad.

Here are some Fun Finland Facts:

Finland is 130,559 square miles with a population of 5.2 million, which makes it the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. For comparison, Maryland has 5.6 million people living across 12,407 square miles. About 600,000 Fins live in Helsinki, the capital. A comparable U.S. city is Charlotte, N.C., with a population of about 610,000. Tampere’s population is about 206,000 or that of Modesto, Calif.

Finland is bilingual by constitution, though practically Finnish is the main language. Swedish is spoken in coastal areas and Sámi in the northern Lapland.

Finland has the greatest number of islands in the world at 179,584 and has 187,888 lakes larger than 500 square meters.

According to the World Audit Democracy profile, Finland is the freest nation in the world in terms of civil liberties, freedom of the press, low corruption levels and political rights.

A quarter of Finland's territory lies above the Arctic Circle, thus the midnight sun can be experienced for more days the farther north one travels. At Finland's northern most point, the sun does not set for 73 consecutive days during summer and does not rise for 51 days during winter.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
—By Katy Devlin, e-Newsletter editor, e-glass weekly

If you didn’t make it to San Antonio for this week’s AIA show, you missed seminars on energy efficiency from some of the most innovative design minds of the industry. You missed the debut of products from hundreds of exhibitors.

And … you missed a dreadfully confusing tradeshow floor that left attendees struggling with maps and company listings, and gridlock reminiscent of the Washington, D.C. Beltway at several of the high-traffic booths planners placed in major entryways. Unofficial attendance topped 21,000; official numbers come out next week.

So, for my final blog entry from the AIA show, I thought I’d show you some notable booths I discovered, you know, in case you couldn’t attend the show, or you just couldn’t find them—or get to them—once you were at the show.

Oldcastle Glass showed a beefed-up version of the booth they brought to GlassBuild America last year. The two-story structure (complete with a glass staircase) and the illuminated bent glass spire certainly drew quite a bit of attention.

Arch Aluminum & Glass lucked out with a spot right at one of the main entries. They were showing off some DuPont laminates. This picture doesn’t quite do justice to the clear quality of the laminated glass overhead in their booth.

Pilkington also brought a large booth that rose up about two stories, with a point-supported system on one side and their channel glass on the other. This hardware, pictured, doesn’t require a cap on the outside, because part of the base is actually laminated into the glass.

Schott’s booth also caught some notice with a Dalmatian display for its anti-reflective glass. No animals were harmed in the making of this display.

But, having never been to expos outside of those specifically for the glass industry, or into a men’s restroom, the booth that grabbed my attention the most on my first walk through was one lined with water-conserving urinals. These architects are really looking to green every part of a building, from the wall systems to the water closet.

Check out the next two issues of e-glass weekly to read news from the show, and the July issue of Glass Magazine for our new product coverage.
Friday, May 4, 2007
—By Katy Devlin, e-newsletter editor, e-glass weekly

The theme of this year’s AIA convention: growing beyond green. The seminars are dedicated to energy-efficient trends, the exhibitors are displaying the latest and greatest green products, and aside from the magazine-sized show catalogs, the convention has gone virtually paperless.

So, with the green theme top of mind, it’s hard not to notice all those energy-wasting, greenhouse gas-producing elements that are vital parts of the show.

This morning, I hopped onto a large charter bus carrying only three passengers. After a short trip, my trio of riders joined 25 others on a second bus that sat—engine running—for more than 20 minutes before carrying us 15 miles to our green-focused convention.

Once there, I sat in windowless seminar rooms to learn the importance of daylighting on productivity. I shivered in air conditioning as speakers discussed the importance of natural ventilation.

I certainly don’t mean to criticize the conference organizers. In fact, AIA went above and beyond to green the convention.

Rather, this has made me acutely aware of how easy it is to sacrifice the world around us for convenience. The bus driver could have waited for more passengers to fill the bus, but then I wouldn’t have arrived at the conference at my desired time.

The green theme also makes me so appreciate the projects going on out there that are leading the trend to curb our energy usage and limit our reliance on carbon-based fuels.

Below, I’ve listed a few projects by green leaders that presenters have brought up as case studies in the past two days.

The Solaire:
A 27-story building in New York City by Pelli Clark Pelli Architects, with all low-E glass, some photovoltaics and a roof-top garde. This project earned LEED Gold.

Octagon Park:
A residential development on Roosevelt Island across the East River from Manhattan with a whole rooftop array of photovoltaics and argon-filled IG with a low-E coating.

Philadelphia Forensic Science Center:
This laboratory, originally built in 1929, was renovated for green, bringing daylight in to reduce use of indoor lighting. And, there’s a PV array on the roof of this one too.

Since I won’t be building any PV-clad, carbon-neutral spaces for myself anytime soon, I’ll do what I can when I can. Like today when I took a quick visit to the Alamo … and walked.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Coming to San Antonio for the first time for the AIA show? Here's some information to get you started.

San Antonio

Population: 1,144,646
Famous spots: The Alamo, River Walk
Fun fact: Named after the Portuguese St. Anthony of Padua
In the news: The Spurs beat the Denver Nuggets 4-1 in round one of the NBA playoffs May 2.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

By Katy Devlin, e-newsletter editor, e-glass weekly

I arrived at the San Antonio, Texas, airport this morning and headed straight to the convention center for the start of the AIA show. Through the shuttle bus windows on the way to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, I took note of the glass office buildings and high rises that the Alamo city has to offer.

In the midst of all that gazing, my glass-focused internal monologue started up again—I wonder who supplied that glass? The heat gain on that façade must be brutal in the afternoons. Those floor-to-ceiling lites have got to weigh a ton; I wonder who did the installation?

I decided to satisfy that internal industry voice and use this blog to share just a few examples of notable glass and glazing within blocks of the convention center. I dragged Glass Magazine’s editor-in-chief, Matt Slovick, on a search for glass. Here are a few things we found. If you know of more interesting glass and glazing applications in the city, leave comments, and we’ll try to check it out before the convention ends on Saturday.

We didn’t have to go far to find a great façade. In fact, this one is actually part of the convention center. The glass allows the inside registration area to fill with daylight, I’m sure greatly reducing use of interior lighting. And the exterior metal system—just awesome.

Right across the street from the convention center is the San Antonio River Center, a mall with shops opening to the outdoors on the first floor and glass-enclosed shops above. You can see there’s a hint of reflectivity on that glass, but from where we were standing, you could see sharp, clear views into the opposing shops.

My photography doesn’t do the Tower of the America’s justice. So, click here to view some professional images. I’ve heard from several native San Antonians that the views from the glass-enclosed restaurant at the top are just breathtaking.

Our brief San Antonio glass tour, however, didn’t come without a few failures. Here’s an image of a cracked (and taped) piece of bent glass on the revolving door of a local hotel—which will remain nameless. The hotel’s glass-clad tower also featured quite a few failed units—though I couldn’t quite tell what the problem was from the ground.

Check out tomorrow’s blog for coverage inside the expo. And see next week’s e-glass weekly to read convention news. 

Sunday, April 29, 2007
Editors from Glass Magazine, a publication of the National Glass Association in McLean, Va., travel around the world every year to cover the top conferences and trade shows for the glass and glazing industry. From Atlanta to Italy, Las Vegas to Finland, our editors are there, on-site, even when you can't be.

While we offer detailed news and information in our weekly e-newsletter, e-glass weekly, and in Glass Magazine, our blog gives us the opportunity to provide immediate news, photos and commentary of the meetings you care about.

And with this blog, we're becoming interactive. Feel free to comment on our posts, tell us your own experiences and ask questions.

Starting this week, Katy Devlin, e-newsletter editor, will start blogging from the AIA Annual Convention 2007, May 3-5 in San Antonio.
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