Launch Slideshow

Cool Products Come Out to Play at AIA Convention

Cool Products Come Out to Play at AIA Convention

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    3form
    The company that made resin cool has done it again. 3-form has now introduced V3, a design-integrated photovoltaic that allows the company’s resin panels to provide solar power. Applications containing V3 can be curved and will come available in many of the 3form XT standard color offerings, the company says. V3 technology will be available at the end of 2010. www.3-form.com.

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    Accsys Technologies
    The manufacturer uses a process known as acetylation, which alters wood’s reaction with water by permanently replacing free hydroxyls within the wood with naturally occurring stable acetyl groups. This may not mean anything to you, but it results in lumber that is highly durable, dimensionally stable, and low maintenance. www.accoya.com.

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    CertainTeed Gypsum
    Later this year, CertainTeed Gypsum will offer a wallboard that features its patent-pending AirRenew technology, a product that will help create a healthy indoor environment by permanently reducing volatile organic compounds circulating indoors. It will capture formaldehyde and other aldehydes by converting them into inert compounds that safely remain within the board. www.airrenew.com.
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    Duo-Gard
    The manufacturer’s decorative panels now come in a variety of new designs, including the Sunset Collection (shown). Made from 100 recyclable content, the panels come in 4-foot-by8-foot sheets in two thicknesses—1/8 and ¼ inch—and can be used for a variety of architectural applications including cabinet doors and walls. www.duo-gard.com.

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    Formica Corp.
    The inventor of laminate countertops will soon take a walk outside with its new VIVIX exterior architectural panels. Launching October 2010 VIVIX is a rigid panel that is designed for vertical application with a metal rainscreen attachment system. Panels will be available in a variety of designs, including wood grain patterns, and will have integrated, decorative surfaces on both sides. www.formica.com.
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    Kolbe Windows and Doors
    Having conquered the flooring world and now moving on to cabinets and even doors, bamboo now seems intent on the window category. Kolbe recently announced this prototype window that would incorporate Lamboo’s structural engineered bamboo on the interior of the window. The product is still in development but would offer at the benefits of bamboo—warp resistance, durability, and good looks. www.kolbe-kolbe.com.

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    Simpson Doors
    The problem with wood doors is obvious—warping, buckling—but the company’s Nantucket Collection aims to fix that. The doors combine hardy weather-resistant black locust or Nootka cypress and a modified mortise-and-tenon construction technique that includes a floating mortise-and-tenon with face-driven pins to eliminate stile and rail separation. It has a Design pressure ratings of 50.
    www.simpson.com.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently released its final figures for the 2010 convention in Miami, and, as expected, fewer people attended compared to last year’s event. Still, the show offered a handful of cool product finds for residential and commercial installations.

The AIA meeting's product displays are, for the most part, geared toward the commercial market, but there were plenty of products that could go either way. An attendee with a good eye—or simply time to spend—could certainly sniff out a cool product or two that would be perfect for a custom home, remodel, or condo project.

As one exhibitor said, “The idea is that being here will cause inspiration for architects who might use something in their commercial work or their residential work.”

The dirty little secret about products, though, is that it’s not really up to the manufacturers. When has manufacturer Kawneer ever announced that its storefront framing could be used on a skyscraper as well as a house in the 'burbs? Never.

But architects seldom follow rules between what’s a "commercial" product and what can be used in a house. Kawneer often says it doesn’t do residential work, but that has not stopped architects such as Todd Walker in Memphis, and Jon Anderson in New Mexico from using similar systems on their houses. It is likely that some builders take such liberties with products as well.

So, some manufacturers at the AIA convention clearly intended to target residential professionals, be they architects or builders, telling journalists that they want their products to address challenges such as warping exterior wood doors, high-maintenance cladding, or inadequate performing lumber.

In that open-minded spirit, here is a collection of products which might find a place in your next home or solve a problem in another project, regardless of whether that happens be a house or a strip mall.

Nigel Maynard is senior editor, products, at BUILDER magazine.