Interest in composites is building in the architecture market.
Jim Williams, a 37-year veteran in the composites industry and sales manager at MFG Molded Fiber Glass Companies, has observed a creative upsurge recently in one market segment: Architects are creating more and more outside-the-box designs that push the boundaries of what can be built. To Williams, other composites professionals and an increasing number of architects, it’s clear that composites are a great material choice.
What makes composites so capable? When it comes to decorative work on the exterior of a building, staying lightweight is key to minimize installation costs and framing requirements. Composite structures are also strong and weatherproof. And perhaps the greatest advantage is molding freedom, which opens up numerous possibilities for the structure’s shape.
Molding freedom is a big selling point for Mike Dobronos, president of Architectural Fiberglass in Cleveland. The company is best known for its decorative work. “With traditional materials, you can’t bend something two or three different ways,” says Dobronos. “It’s difficult to make a ball, for instance, out of metal, whereas out of fiberglass you can do it readily.”
Architectural Fiberglass manufactures dome roofs, religious ornaments, cornices and custom pieces for a variety of buildings. Recently, the company completed a project for the security area in the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport in Kansas. The FRP honeycomb-patterned ceiling fixtures are purely decorative, giving the room character, says Steve Dobronos, sales manager at Architectural Fiberglass. The fixtures use Ashland’s MODAR® modified acrylic fire-retardant resins to meet low smoke requirements for interior fixtures.