Glass Performance Days, which officially opened yesterday, continues through tomorrow with a variety of technical sessions and networking opportunities in Tampere, Finland.
Read the latest report from Guardian’s Earnest Thompson below:
Sports jackets and suits were doffed on Friday and sleeves were rolled up as attendees at the Glass Performance Days (GPD) in Finland got down to drinking from the proverbial fire hose. Attendance has grown to around 500 as everyone attending has finally arrived and no one has left just yet. The air traffic controllers’ strike in Paris, however, had its effect and some southern Europeans just never made it. The session menu was varied and participants were able to choose from five parallel sessions running from early morning until late afternoon covering the gamut of technical topics and project applications.
Day-long sessions ranged from the popular “Energy Performance in Buildings” to “Advanced Architectural Glass in Facades” and “Laminated Glass Including Process and Design.” Add to that sessions about high-level automation and quality management and new products and applications and one was faced with a techno buffet table with just too many options. Different folks had different strategies for gorging on the tasty technology choices. Full houses suddenly had available seating as many conference rooms saw changeovers after each speaker. In short, navigating the day required an action plan.
Most people chose the “shuffle” mode like you have on your iPod. A little bit of triple-vacuum glazing followed by electrochromic (EC) glass in Sardinia and then some curtainwall behavior under seismic “solicitations” for applications in earthquake zones. One’s notebook became a run-on sentence of “a new VIG line in China … curtainwall on modern buildings and ancient retrofits in historic settings … seismic test results from floor drift to dynamic shaking and a façade consultant’s role in a distinctive building for the Melbourne (Australia) skyline …”
But not to worry—you won’t find the deep dive into each session here as that would take more than the allotted words and the range of topics is too varied. Rather, you can find them all in a bound book the size of a small city’s telephone book or, more conveniently, online at glassfiles.com. Already, this site has some 8,000 pages of technical articles from past GPDs. The proceedings from this year will be loaded in the weeks ahead and be a reference to all. The new website has been developed in cooperation with the Tampere University of Technology and is an online library of technical papers from throughout the industry. Also available will be a selection of videos including some from past GPDs and this year’s keynote speeches and technical sessions.
An always interesting and somewhat humbling experience for Americans attending international conferences is that they are conducted in English as a second language. Oh, you hear plenty of the globe’s variety of tongues but the sessions themselves are conducted in a version of English sprinkled with accents from everywhere. During Q&As, it can be a challenge to ensure that a particular word means the same thing to everyone. It’s during those encounters that it hits: what if you had to deliver a technical presentation in another language? It fosters new appreciation for both the topic and the speaker.
One last observation from today at GPD and that is the one about whether conferences like this have staying power. It’s driven by the lower numbers at many such events in recent years from China Glass a few weeks ago in Beijing to GPD or the Glass Association of North America’s Building Envelope Contractors Conference or any number of other industry happenings. And it’s an argument that has merit and should always be asked anew. But for this year, GPD has meant contacts and conversations and knowledge sharing and connections being made like always. It’s not nearly as much the numbers in the room as the quality and value of the conversation.
Stay tuned to www.usglassmag.com for our final report from the event, which concludes tomorrow, on Monday.