Chances are you were one of the many who flocked to see former First Lady Michelle Obama for a large chunk of time or were busy obtaining continuing education units during this year’s AIA convention in Orlando last month. So for those of you who missed much of the conference’s expo portion, we’re naming our top building-product picks that you should know about.
Armstrong Ceilings: Various Additions
The company’s already popular ceiling system lines MetalWorks and WoodWorks each received a few updates that afford architects even more design freedom. MetalWorks Linear now offers 2- and 10-inch widths that can be mixed and matched with existing widths to create eye-catching variegated patterns. Meanwhile, the sound-absorbing Metalworks Blades – Classics also boasts new formats of 24 and 48 inches long.
For the WoodWorks Grille series, Armstrong expanded the offerings to three blade widths, five blade depths and five blade patterns. The panels are available in maple, light or dark cherry, walnut or white finish and are a great budget-friendly alternative to custom millwork for ceilings and walls alike. Armstrong also has a custom curved panel with flexible backer.
CRL-U.S. Aluminum: Monterey Bi-Folding Door System
With the indoor-outdoor living trend increasingly on the rise, we weren’t surprised to see newly launched or enhanced and updated windows, doors and glazing products for residential application at the expo. Among them, Monterey is a top-hung bi-folding door system of glass panels that easily glide and stack at the side. CRL has since upgraded the system with stainless steel hardware and a thermally broken option.
Firestone Building Products: NewEnvironmentally Friendly Insulation
Considered more environmentally friendly than mineral wool, polyiso uses 85 percent less energy to manufacture, possesses a Global Warming Potential that’s 3.5 times lower and can also be recycled and reused in certain applications. And Firestone’s new formulation of polyiso insulation reportedly outperforms all other polyiso boards on the market by up to 18 percent.
Kolbe Windows & Doors: Evo
This award-winning collection from Kolbe — designed in collaboration with architects — is much loved for its handsome, slim and clean-lined profiles and large expanses of glass. At AIA, the manufacturer introduced a modern streamlined window operator worthy of pairing with VistaLuxe frames. The Evo operator sports a flat linear form that, when pulled, opens casements and awnings for ventilation, eliminating the need to crank. The user simply pivot-pushes the handle back into place to close or adjust the window. Evo, designed only for use with the VistaLuxe series, comes in satin nickel, white or matte black.
NanaWall Systems: Cero
You might remember back in the winter, we gave a sneak preview of this amazing glass wall system, but it wasn’t until the AIA expo that it was officially launched and unveiled to the public. Featuring one of the most minimal frames in sliding glass walls, Cero (pronounced zero; also shown at top) boasts floor-to-ceiling panels that glide within recessed top and bottom tracks.
The German-engineered system features a thermally broken Higher Weather Performance Sill (with an optional track insert for ADA requirements), soft opening and closing using transparent bumpers and four layers of soft gaskets, a unique Gothic arch wheel bearing design for effortless operation and a multipoint tamper-resistant lock and handle combo.
Owens Corning: Formaldehyde-Free Thermafiber
Earlier we talked about a new polyiso product raising the bar in environmentally friendly insulation. But the mineral-wool insulation manufacturers are attempting to step up the game, as well. At the expo, Owens Corning launched the first and only formaldehyde-free Thermafiber mineral wool product in North America. Thermafiber SAFB (Sound Attenuation Fire Blankets) is the first to go formaldehyde-free, and the Thermafiber UltraBatt insulation will soon follow. In addition to the formaldehyde-free formulation, Thermafiber can also contribute credits in sustainable building with its minimum 70 percent recycled content.
Pella: Architect Series Reserve and Contemporary
Following months of research with architects and builders, Pella expanded its 1990s-introduced Architects Series to include the distinct Reserve and Contemporary collections of premium wood windows and patio doors, providing even more design flexibility. Architect Series Reserve consists of historically authentic styles and details while still performing like modern-day products. Some of these elements include putty glaze profile grilles and sashes, thick sash and grille profiles with authentic sight lines and archival butt joinery.
Meanwhile, the Architect Series Contemporary line is all about sleekness, clean sight lines and stylish coordinating hardware. Some of the highlights from the Contemporary collection include prefinished black interior stain, the custom-designed modern hardware and square grille profiles to create geometric shapes.
Shildan: Alphaton Additions
The terra-cotta extraordinaire has added a myriad of new profile shapes and styles to its Alphaton terra-cotta rain-screen façade line that continues to demonstrate Shildan’s complex extruding capabilities. Within the new lineup, there’s a shape for every project: grilles, ridged curves, batten-like, fluted, undulating, ovoid, triangular … while finishes range from traditional to textured to pearlescent.
Vetrotech Saint-Gobain: Keralite SafeGuard
A leader in fire-rated glass and systems, Vetrotech recently introduced Keralite SafeGuard as an economical all-in-one glazing product. The fire-rated ceramic glass also helped protect against accidental impact, ballistics and intruders, the latter of which is becoming an increasing concern today. SafeGuard was developed to deter or delay an active shooter: In bullet tests, the material didn’t shatter, for instance. Additional tests were conducted to observe flame and smoke containment and how the glass withstands accidental impact from an up-to-300-pound person. SafeGuard has a fire rating of up to three hours and a sound transmission rating of 37.
YKK AP: YHW 60 TU Window Wall System
With curtain walls being a more costly architectural element, shop-fabricated, pre-glazable applications are looking more desirable for mixed-use and multi-unit residential buildings. Answering the call, YKK AP added this unitized window-wall system that is factory-assembled and -glazed to allow for quicker interior installation, which, in turn, significantly reduces labor costs. The manufacturer is also reporting that critical sealing of unitized walls can dry up to 85 percent faster compared to on-site glazing. What’s more, YHW 60 TU is also impact-rated, protecting against strong environmental conditions of up to 90 pounds per square foot.