Story at a glance:

  • Thousands of building industry professionals traveled to Washington, DC for the annual AIA Conference on Architecture in early June.
  • Workshops, seminars, and keynotes from everyone from Dr. Sanjay Gupta to author Arthur C. Brooks as well as a sprawling expo floor showing new product solutions were highlights of this year’s event.

More than 10,000 people were in attendance at this year’s AIA Conference on Architecture & Design 2024, held in DC at the Walter. E Washington Convention Center from June 5 through 8. Professionals from across the AEC industry were in the city to explore new solutions, share knowledge, and perhaps earn a few continuing education credits along the way.

This year’s expo floor was full of innovative solutions to help architecture and design teams build a better world, from solving the need for more flexible buildings with smarter elevator systems to acoustic solutions that are beautiful, too.

Here are some of the highlights from the AIA Conference on Architecture 2024.

Thermowood Ayous by Maximo


Thermowood Ayous is a popular choice for interiors and exteriors alike—especially walls and ceilings. Maximo is part of parent company GMX Group. Photo courtesy of Maximo

Maximo debuted sustainable Thermowood Ayous, Thermowood Scandinavian, and Thermowood Ash at the 2024 AIA Conference. Thermowood Ayous is in demand and a popular choice for interiors and exteriors alike—especially walls and ceilings.

As part of the Thermowood process (Maximo Thermowood is powered by Novawood technology—an exclusive for North America), the wood goes inside a kiln for approximately 40 hours. That modifies the wood cell forever, says Marcelo Guimaraes, marketing director at GMX Group. “That means it’s not going to change. We cook all of the sugar out of it, and we remove the moisture. If wood doesn’t have any moisture, it pretty much doesn’t have any more post-installation movement. That is key to architects, to installers, or to whoever is going to specify the product, because one of the problems people usually encounter when working with wood is that it warps. It can very quickly lose the look you were looking for.”

Maximo Thermowood is also lightweight and maintains its real wood small, as it hasn’t been treated with a plethora of chemicals, like some other competitors’ products. All Maximo and GMX Group wood products hold third-party legality certification. The Maximo brand of lumber meets strict sustainability standards for life cycle impact, due care, and more.

Cityscape Series by Glen-Gery Corporation


The Cityscape Series by Glen-Gery Corporation features several new colors. Photo courtesy of Glen-Gery Corporation

Leading brick manufacturer Glen-Gery, part of Brickworks North America, showcased its latest brick styles, colors, and new products at the AIA Expo.

Among their latest offerings, the new Cityscape Series features genuine clay brick pavers—designed to be enduring testaments to tradition, resilience, and a timeless elegance. The Cityscape Series is available in a rich palette of colors, including Liberty Copper, Plum Plaza, and Empire Blue, so city streetscapes can be even further transformed into vibrant, exciting corridors that pull people in.

The Cityscape clay brick pavers allow for endless customization while ensuring durability and strength against weathering and heavy foot traffic. They’re ideal for driveways, walkways, patios, and landscaping projects.

MetaCore by Schindler


Schindler’s MetaCore technology makes buildings even more flexible. Photo courtesy of Schindler Elevator Corporation

Modern elevators have advanced technology that is key to reconfiguring and adapting existing buildings. Schindler’s MetaCore technology can help design teams convert old and underused buildings to reduce the cost and waste of new construction.

While in a traditional mixed use building setup you’d often see separate residential and commercial elevator shafts, MetaCore allows for more flexibility—and less waiting around. “With the MetaCore system we can use all three cabs for all uses and flex it across,” says Abby Thebeau, a vertical transportation professional at Schindler, pointing to a model on the expo floor. “You have different entrance points. This is really nice because not only can you flex your floors—say maybe these three floors were office-based but now nobody goes to the office. Now you can make this residential without any major construction to the shafts.”

That ability to really flex a building, she says, also allows for better traffic flow. “Now everybody has access to three elevators instead of two.”



CENTRIA’s new INTERCEPT+ is a great fit for architects and designers looking for a highly customizable cladding design solution. Photo courtesy of CENTRIA

Nucor’s CENTRIA and Metl-Span brands showcased their latest and leading metal panel systems at the AIA expo—including CENTRIA’s new INTERCEPT+ powered by NEXGEN. The streamlined INTERCEPT+ is a great fit for architects and designers looking for a highly customizable cladding design solution, according to Steve Marziale, sales engineer at Nucor.

“It’s designed to be part of a rainscreen assembly. This would be put up over another type of weather barrier, whether it’s an insulated panel or something else,” he says. “The nice thing about it is you can get these wide modules similar to aluminum composite material, but there’s no plastic core, so there are no concerns with combustibility or anything.”

INTERCEPT+ offers architects the versatility to incorporate modules of different shapes and sizes for a variety of rainscreen and facade applications. The lightweight panels require little to no maintenance, and the 100% metal substrate is recyclable at the end of its long service life.

Nucor and its affiliates are manufacturers of steel and steel products, with operating facilities in the US, Canada, and Mexico and is North America’s largest recycler.

Silent Mesh+ Modular Ceiling System by GKD Metal Fabrics


The ceiling at Value Act Capital features Silent Mesh+. Photo courtesy of GKD Metal Fabrics

GKD Metal Fabrics premiered its innovative Silent Mesh+ ceiling system at this year’s AIA expo.

The new system gives architects and interior designers even more flexibility, as it’s the first architectural metal fabric system for suspended indoor ceilings.

Silent Mesh+ can be assembled and fitted remotely from the GKD workshop or directly onsite. It has a frame-grid design to minimize substructure visibility and a distinct and clean aesthetic that pairs easily with any GKD metal fabric and finish.

Silent Mesh+ is engineered from non-flammable materials to support fire safety, and the system can be combined with acoustic fleece to enhance building performance.

Qwel Designer Acoustic Ceiling Tiles


Qwel is a relatively new brand in the acoustic tile space, and their product fills a need in the circular economy, as it’s made with recycled materials. It’s also super lightweight, making it even easier to install. Photo courtesy of Qwel

Qwel ceiling and wall tiles are made from 100% non-woven PET fibers and up to 50% recycled materials. The tiles provide outstanding acoustic performance without chemical after-treatments and are 100% recyclable.

“We’re the only US manufacturer who is molding PET,” says Erin Curtis, vice president of marketing and development for Qwel, adding that they even supply material for at least one of the most popular aesthetic acoustic providers in the market. “We decided to come to market with our own product line because we felt that the middle market was really being underserved,” she says, noting others’ pricepoints. “We wanted to have a way for the ‘every man’ office to elevate their space, so we are more cost competitive.”

Durable, lightweight, and easy to install, each Qwel tile is thermoformed for lifelong shape retention and is a great solution for new construction or upgrading existing spaces. The washable tiles are dust- and shakeout-free and stain, mold, and mildew-resistant.

Their molded architectural ceiling tiles comes in six different molded shapes so you can mix and match.

New Colors from EQUITONE


EQUITONE released five new colors in June 2024. Photo courtesy of EQUITONE

EQUITONE, designed by and for architects, is a through-colored facade material that is now available in five new colors. The expanded palette brings EQUITONE’s color offerings to nine total available shades so architects and designers have even more options to bring their projects to life.

EQUITONE’s varied and unique texture range also includes linea—a 3D-ridged material that plays with light and shadow; tectiva—inspired by the look and feel of concrete; natura—an elegant cladding option with sleek surface; and pictura—with a smooth, matte finish.

All are lightweight, fiber-cement cladding options. EQUITONE is Cradle to Cradle– certified at the Bronze level for all of its fiber cement materials.