Interview Joe Khoury, founder of ALT Limited
Laminated Glass News speaks to Joe Khoury, founder of ALT Limited and discovers how his company has evolved to meet the needs of a building industry with a growing demand for more and more glazing.
Founded in Taiwan in 1991, ALT Limited has nearly three decades’ experience of the wide and varying demands of the global curtain wall industry, and now advertises itself as the leading curtain wall consultant in Asia.
Very soon after its foundation, Joe Khoury and his fledgling company found themselves working on a number of high-profile assignments, including the Taichung Tower in Taiwan, the Seocho Fashion Center in Korea, and the Hong Kong Electric Company Headquarters, in Hong Kong.
Throughout the years, it has established partnerships with the world’s top architects and owners and has played a vital role in the development of curtain wall systems for various celebrated landmarks around the world.
Q. So, what started it all?
“The demand for curtain walling spreads from the USA and very soon the Far East was seeing a bit of a boom. As a result, we very quickly realized that the local markets needed specialists.
At the time, the quality levels were very poor, an issue compounded by the fact that a lot of people simply did not know what was available. At this time, the US was doing a lot of technically advanced projects, but now I feel it is almost reversed – there is some really clever stuff over here in Asia.”
Q. Do you specialize in anything particular?
“We offer a number of services including façade consultancy, façade thermal and energy performance simulation, LEED consultancy and façade access consultancy and we deal with many different types of façades and curtain wall structures, with materials including glass, stone, aluminum and stainless. I would say that 75 % of the projects we’ve done and are doing are based on glass – and for a number of different reasons. Some are reasonably simple; others have geometrical challenges. This volume of glass-related work means we eat, sleep and work, day and night in glass.
Major projects we have worked on include Taipei 101, Burj Khalifa, and a number of big towers in China – all of which are 500 m (1640 ft) and above. We have had numerous other high-profile successes, which bolster our standing in the market. People like success and experience, which is backed up by the fact that most of us on the team are architects, structural engineers and technicians.”
Q. What sets you apart from other companies?
“To put it simply, our practical experience and cost consciousness. An architect can design amazing things, but what’s the point if the owner then says they can’t afford it? You have to work within boundaries, which is hard work as the architects want the design, but the owners don’t want to pay for it. We have to tread very carefully, but even then a lot of people mistake value and engineering for cost cutting. How do you balance safety, design & cost? You have to convince the architect and the owner, both of whom often want different things. You have to put your ego away and play the diplomat – most people will listen to reason. I like to think that our 560 projects give us a big library and background, with regards to what worked, what didn’t and what needs proving. As I said earlier, people like experiences.”