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Editorial: February 2013

Exploring the heights

February 13, 2013  By Patrick Flannery

Glass Canada is going to show the world that Canadian architectural glazing is the best.

Glass Canada is going to show the world that Canadian architectural glazing is the best.

It is a balmy -16 C outside (-25 with the wind chill), yet I’m sitting comfortably in my kitchen’s eating nook with windows surrounding me on three sides. It is a miracle of modern building technology, but one so commonplace here in Canada that no one ever thinks about it any more.

Building in and for cold climates is a daunting task. Just Google “cold weather construction” and you’ll find a parade of articles from just about every subsector of the construction industry talking about how to cope with low temperatures. Many common materials used in the southern U.S. wouldn’t last one winter up here (for example, Saltillo tile). Then there is the complex and dynamic science of how to make a dwelling that can be heated and cooled efficiently without making it look like a cave.


In both these areas, Canadian glazing professionals are world-beating experts. Every year, our landscape sees new glass construction projects that raise the bar for cold-weather functionality and energy efficiency. But they also raise the bar for architectural conception and beauty. I doubt there is anywhere in the world you could go to see more examples of innovative, modern glazing in a cold-weather setting.

We have the money and the expertise to build beauty in the snow, and boy, do we use them.

This needs to be celebrated. With anxiety about imported components and an aging workforce eroding confidence in the future of our industry, we need to remind ourselves of the incredible achievements of the Canadian glazing trade. That is why Glass Canada is going to launch Top Glass in May of this year.

Top Glass will feature 10 breathtaking new buildings with innovative and architecturally groundbreaking glazing elements. Of course, there will be big, beautiful photos. But in addition to the “architecture porn,” Top Glass readers will get an in-depth analysis of the glazing project as only Glass Canada can deliver it.

My hope is that Top Glass will be a bubbling cauldron of ideas and inspiration for Canada’s glaziers, and a strong source of pride for everyone associated with the industry.

Here is where you come in. I bet you can think of two or three (or four, or five) projects right off the top of your head that made you stop and say “Wow!” Well, I want to know about them. I’m looking for Glass Canada readers to send in their suggestions for projects we should cover. All you need to do is e-mail me at and tell me about the project you have in mind. I’ll do the rest of the research and follow-up. Because we want the latest and greatest, I’m going to concentrate on projects that have been finished in the last year or so. Otherwise, anything you think is a great example of architectural glazing is fair game.

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