In a competition sponsored by Pittsburgh-based glassmaker PPG Industries, winning designs by students of Detroit's College for Creative Studies (CCS) show how glass can add safety and security as well as utility, comfort and convenience for a luxury 2008 vehicle. v PPG's Ernest Hahn, vice president, automotive glass, presented the PPG Design Challenge Awards, for 2001, to these CCS transportation design seniors:
First place: Randy Rodriguez, 24, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Second place: Brian Izard, 21, formerly of Houston, now from Plano, Texas.
Third place: Jeff Sanders, 30, formerly from Ennis, Texas, who now lives in Detroit.
Hahn presented the awards during ceremonies at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opens to the public on Saturday. The students received scholarships of $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place.
Rodriguez's first-place design is for a car-like crossover vehicle that has the ruggedness and versatility of a sport utility, with extensive use of glass above the daylight opening to enhance visibility and, therefore, safety. Each section of the two-piece glass roof can be moved down behind the rear passenger seats. Instead of the windshield having the traditional curved, framed shape, sections on both sides at the A-pillar step down below the main base, dropping onto a narrowed, carved-out hood. This allows the driver to see the front corners of the vehicle. Glass behind the front door, from the roof to the rear fender, also affords better visibility.
Expecting life in 2008 to be busier with more traffic, Rodriguez said he designed his vehicle to allow the driver to see the road better for dramatically improved safety.
Izard's second-place design is for an elegant, luxurious vehicle that combines the sportiness of a sport utility with the cargo storage and flexibility of a hatchback. Inspired by the stained glass windows of cathedrals, Izard shows how vibrant shades of glass can be used as decoration to complement body color.
A glass roof creates an open, airy feeling for the passenger compartment. Inside, a frosted green glass center console creates visual depth and interest.
Izard wanted his use of glass to be "practical and feasible, more production oriented."
Sanders' third-place design is for a four-door station wagon-type vehicle with glass forming the entire top above the daylight opening. A single piece of glass comprises the windshield and elongated roof, supported by a crisscrossing polished aluminum frame. Overhead side impact airbags are installed in dome-shaped cylinders. "I left the styling of the rest of the vehicle relatively mundane to draw more attention to the glass upper for more emphasis on this feature," Sanders said.
Judges for the PPG competition, all CCS alumni, were Mark Allen, senior designer, Truck Studio, DaimlerChrysler; Jim Fleming, senior creative designer, Truck Brand Character Center, General Motors Corp., and Douglas Gaffka, director - design, Living Legends, Ford Motor Co.
Twenty-five transportation design seniors submitted concepts. To prepare them for the contest, PPG glass and coatings experts provided the students with information about glass manufacturing and design and color trends. They also heard from Amy McFarren, senior manager, J.D. Power and Associates.
The concepts were based on a targeted consumer defined by J.D. Power: an affluent e-commerce executive named Sara, 30 to 35 years old, living in the San Francisco area whose vehicle is a statement of who she is.
Designs were judged on appropriateness and creativity, the students' sketch work and idea generation, and professionalism of the students' presentations before the judges.
PPG is North America's largest manufacturer of automotive glass for original-equipment and replacement applications, and the world's leading maker of transportation coatings. The company has been an official sponsor of the North American International Auto Show for eight years.
Detroit's College for Creative Studies is one of the nation's leading arts education institutions. Many alumni pursue careers in auto design.
J.D. Power and Associates, headquartered in Agoura Hills, Calif., is a global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction. The firm's annual quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers.