Guardian Industries Corp. will be bringing its newest digital tool to the AIA National Conference in Atlanta this month, showing how the glass manufacturer has made the glass selection easier and more efficient than ever. Founded in 1932, the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based manufacturer produces float and fabricated glass products including SunGuard® Advanced Architectural Glass, which comes in a comprehensive range of coatings that achieve varying aesthetic and performance requirements. The new Guardian Glass Visualizer uses powerful analytics to depict glass appearance as lighting and sky conditions change, assisting the architect in evaluating the aesthetic properties of virtually any glass makeup.
Guardian builds its SunGuard Advanced Architectural Glass with sputter coating, a treatment that saves a typical commercial building thousands of dollars in energy costs — not to mention earning LEED points for the reduction — and provides increased storm and security protection when combined with laminated glass. The innovative process also creates a multitude of options that give architects precise control over color and coating combinations but can be difficult to navigate and imagine in a real-world setting. To make it easier, Guardian offers a suite of online services, Glass Analytics.
Guardian Glass Analytics launched with a Performance Calculator, a Building Energy Calculator, and a BIM Generator. The latest addition, the Glass Visualizer, will help architects to see their designs in a different light — literally. Building upon the existing options for solar performance and energy efficiency, architects will now be able to visualize photorealistic renderings of custom glass makeups on different buildings, at different times of day, and with various sky conditions.
“Software tools for glass performance and building energy analysis have existed for years, but samples laid out on a conference room table continues to be the most common method to evaluate glass appearance,” says Collin Blackford, Guardian Regional Technical Advisor. Bringing his architectural background to the project, Blackford guided enhancements to ensure that the visualizer was built to address architects needs while staying in line with Guardian’s objectives.
“A single site visit will only help you to understand how the glass looks on the reference building under the conditions that exist on the day of the visit,” Blackford says. Surroundings, shade, size, occupancy, and interior lighting are just some of the variables that can make for a drastically different visual experience on a day-to-day and hour-to-hour basis.
Tim Singel, responsible for conceptual design and global deployment of all Glass Analytics, including the new visualizer, says, “It was Guardian’s belief that technological advancements in computing and imaging should enable the development of visualization software that would allow the user to control the conditions that affect glass appearance.” So Singel and Blackford started working together to create a program giving multiple visuals and efficiency information in one place.
They faced the challenge of figuring out how to quantify a question about their glass that can be subjective: What does it look like? The visualizer needed to do more than just generate images; it needed to provide dynamic and accurate views of buildings affected by both different options and constantly changing conditions. “From the earliest design concept of the Glass Visualizer, we were committed to delivering photorealistic rendered images,” says Singel. In order to make that a reality, the building options presented in the Glass Visualizer were created with actual photographs taken under different weather conditions.
The visualizer tool offers five natural lighting options: full daylight, cloudy, clear-day sunrise, cloudy-day sunset, and night. Working in line with the other advanced analytics tools, especially the Performance Calculator, design professionals can compare different custom glass. As Blackford notes, “The end result is that the Glass Visualizer allows the user to see what it looks like, whether the makeup is monolithic, clear glass, or a complex multilayer combination of substrates, coatings, interlayers, and frits.”
Comparing the different views on the glass visualizer gives the user a greater sense of how the slightest changes to the glass can radically affect a room or an exterior design. At its booth for the AIA convention, Guardian will be giving demos to show that its new technology will help designers take control of these variations like never before. “With this tool,” Singel says, “there is a new way for the design professional to understand how lighting will affect the appearance of glass.”
For more information on the Guardian Glass Visualizer, visit Guardian at Booth 2545 at AIA or visit guardian.com/commercial.