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Product Reports 2006


Our 34th annual review of the year’s most interesting and innovative new building products available to architects, designers, and specifiers

Each September, our mission at Architectural Record is to present a jury of highly qualified product experts with a collection of the latest and greatest building products, materials, and technologies. The main task facing the jury is to define what are the most “interesting” and “innovative” products from the hundreds of submissions we receive. These terms are highly subjective, but there are a few universal constants: The product responds to a need in the marketplace; it isn’t harmful to the end user or the environment; and it displays a certain level of detailing and craftsmanship. An added bonus is when it’s produced by a reliable manufacturer interested in establishing a long-term relationship with the specifier.

This year, for the first time, we added a Prototypes category as part of Product Reports in order to acknowledge several outstanding designs and materials that are not quite ready for production. While it might take some time for these designs to be fully realized, we thought including them would both inspire our readers and encourage the designers and manufacturers who are featured.

Our jury often finds a different theme running through the entries, and this year they were intrigued by the integration of LEDs into a variety of unexpected materials and products, including exterior mesh, carpet, and faucets. A few jurors were pleasantly surprised by the breadth of new options in the Concrete category, such as a new bendable concrete and a concrete prototype that reveals hidden patterns upon contact with water. Favorites from other categories included pebble-shaped mosaics made of metal (Finishes), a ridge vent made of natural fibers (Thermal & Moisture Protection), and a new textile that hardens upon impact (Prototypes). As always, the jury appreciated the chance to review actual samples of the products and materials. Feeling the texture and quality and seeing the detailing of those entries was a great help to the selection process.

That’s not to say our jury found everything they were hoping to see. They would have liked to have reviewed a greater range of options in flooring and seen more of a selection in masonry (none of the latter were selected to appear). Across the board, they preferred designs that avoided looking trendy or easily dated.

We hope that you find this year’s Reports a helpful resource over the course of the new year.

- Rita Catinella Orrell, Products Editor


2006 Jurors

(Standing, left to right):
Pei-heng Tsai founded PHT Lighting Design in New York City in 2004 and has over 10 years experience as a project designer and manager for large-scale works in the U.S. and abroad. She is currently teaching lighting design at the Interior Design School of the Fashion Institute of Technology, in New York City.

Brian M. Slocum, AIA, is a project architect at Polshek Partnership Architects in New York City. His experience includes cultural, educational, institutional, and residential project work.

Matthew C. Petrie, AIA, has been an associate principal at ADD Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, since 2004. He previously worked for Richard Meier and Partners in New York City and Paris and for Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects in Boston.

Eileen F. Ragsdale is a LEED-accredited professional and is the resource librarian for TPG Architecture in New York City. Ragsdale is also president of the Resource Directors Association’s New York Chapter.

After 23 years of experience in lighting design, Suzan Tillotson founded Tillotson Design Associates in 2004. She is a corporate member of the IALD and has been an IES member for 24 years. Her firm’s portfolio includes interior and exterior lighting for corporate, education, hospitality, and retail projects.

Herbert Martin Lynn, AIA, is an associate partner and the director of research and specifications at SOM in New York City. He has over 35 years of experience in architecture, primarily in specification writing. Recently, he wrote specs for the Time Warner Center and Random House projects in New York City.

(Seated, left to right):
A LEED accredited professional, Brian Stacy leads the Arup Lighting office in New York City and has designed lighting and related systems for exterior and interior environments in the cultural, entertainment, and corporate sectors.

Andrew Dent is vice president for library and materials research at Material ConneXion in New York City. Dent received his Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Cambridge in England. His new book, Material ConneXion II (Thames and Hudson), is coming out in 2007.