Interview John Kooymans, Principal at Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd.

Laminated Glass News speaks to John Kooymans, principal at Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. (RJC Engineers), to discuss his history and uncover his ideas and predictions for glazing in aesthetic and structural applications.

Square One Rotunda / Image: © Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd.
The Erin Mills Town Centre shopping mall exhibits the world’s largest double-glass spherical structural skylight, which relies heavily on the performance of SentryGlas® interlayer.
Image © Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd
Interlayer clarity is vital in glazed architectural structures that
are designed to let in as much natural light as possible.
Image © Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd.

With over 30 years of experience in Building Design, at RJC Engineers, one of North America's leading engineering firms, with a staff of more than 600 in 12 locations across Canada, John leads both its Retail Group and its Structural Glass and Façade Engineering groups. He offers an enviable track record to his involvement in the creation of some truly amazing glass structures and, sharing his wealth of knowledge with the next generation, he has taken a seat at the university of Waterloo since September 2019, as an adjunct professor, teaching Canada’s first Structural Glass engineering course.

Q. Can you give us an idea of your career to date?
It’s been a long road. I graduated in 1986 and took an instant liking to cultural and retail buildings because of the variety they offer, which I found new and exciting. My first foray into the world of structural glass was in 2002, due to a couple of jobs we were involved in. One was for a skylight for a retail structure, while the other was a staircase for an opera house. Both fascinated me and it was then that I realised that there was a bright future for structural glass. Following these initial projects, I started researching the discipline and ended up heading to Europe, where I sought out and undertook training from my various industry contacts. Even in these earlier days I realised that glass had a lot to offer. I saw that I could enable the creation of unique applications, in terms of both structure and design.

Q. What’s your role within RJC?
I am a principal, in a 600+ employee company, leading a group that handles retail and cultural work as well as our structural glass and façade engineering group. This group was formed when I brought structural glass to RJC Toronto office and created a talented team, which has now been working together for quite a few years.

Q. Can you describe your company’s primary activities?
We have two distinct divisions within RJC: Structural and Building Science & Restoration (BSR). We specialise in structural engineering, building science, structural restoration, structural glass and façade engineering and parking facility design and restoration.

Q. What’s the uptake and market like for structural glass?

Even though it is well established in Europe, there is still a lot of untapped potential in North America, which is one of the reasons I have chosen to teach structural glass at the University of Waterloo. Simply put, we need to bring more engineers up to speed on what can be achieved with these amazing material combinations.

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