One of the first projects that Walker Glass manufactured for exterior use was the National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS) building in Laval, QC.

When we look back to the year 2007, we realize so much has changed in our world.  Facebook was barely three years old and more of a college networking tool than a worldwide social one.  It was a pre-recession time in North America, and it was early in one leaders term (Harper in Canada) and late in another (Bush in the United States). From the construction world, and specifically glass, there was also the start of some change as well. Products that were more known for decoration or interiors began to find their way to the exterior of the building.

Glass that was fully etched was not a popular usage for anything other than interior spaces. And getting high quality etched glass in North America was a hit and miss proposition. Companies experimented with different techniques to imitate a clean etched look including sandblasting, laminates, and special paints. Nothing was capturing the designers’ eyes until Walker Glass and their Textures line came along, and offered the option they wanted and needed.

One of the first projects that Walker Glass manufactured for exterior use was the National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS) building in Laval, QC. It featured insulating glass units with a Satin etch on the first surface of PPG Starphire® low iron glass. Not only was this an etched project but an etch on the first surface of the glass no less.

“There was quite a bit of our product needed for this project. The design was perfect for it with long rectangular openings all very symmetrical. With black aluminum framing, we were very excited at how nice our product would look and how a first surface etch would perform,” said Marc Deschamps, Business Development Manager, Walker Glass.

Without question the design by the Bobrow Bisson Architects Consortium was tailor made for the Walker product. And it would be a great example of how to use an etched glass product in the exterior setting.

Fast-forwarding to today, the glass on this project looks as good as it did on day one and it’s still very much in style. The big difference is the use of etched glass on the exterior has taken off. Architects all over the globe now see the value in using etched glass and thanks to the quality produced by Walker Glass, their Textures® line is a leader in that effort.

“To visit the INRS site and see the glass now is always a pleasure. It has stood the test of time and really tells a great story about our glass and our manufacturing process.” Deschamps said.

So as 2016 gets into full swing, the evolution of glass products continue. For Walker’s Deschamps that work is never done.

“We pride ourselves on always being ahead of the curve.  Back then it was getting our Textures line out and into different settings like INRS and their exterior and the #1 surface.  Now it’s products like our AviProtek® Bird Friendly Glass that continue to push the envelope and provide the architectural community the materials they want and need to design the buildings of their dreams.”


Project: INRS (National Institute of Scientific Research)

Architect: Bobrow Bisson Architects (Consortium)

Etched Glass Manufacturer: Walker Glass, Montreal, QC

Fabricator: Oldcastle Building Envelope

Products Used: Walker Textures® Satin on 1st Surface of 6mm PPG Starphire® Low Iron Tempered Glass


Related product in this article

Share This