Elegant Channel Glass Facades Make Powerful Design Statements
Two recent Bendheim retrofit projects reveal how the changing functions of libraries demand more thoughtful architecture. As libraries transform from humble book depositories into community-friendly centers for learning and culture, luminous channel glass facades have become a sought-after alternative to plain, daylight-opaque walls.
Highlighting a Main Entrance with Light
At St. Matthews Eline Library, one of the busiest branches in the Louisville, Ky. area, Bendheim’s channel glass highlights the new entrance and illuminates the lobby with glare-free, diffused daylight. Studio Kremer Architects was tasked with the $5.5 million library expansion and renovation. A unique, architecturally significant entrance was among the key project requirements.
According to Steven Ward, Partner of Studio Kremer Architects, among the main reasons for choosing channel glass was its ability to create a seamless glowing “lantern,” free from the visually dominant framing patterns of traditional glass storefronts and curtain walls. “We determined that installation was relatively easy and the thermal performance relative to storefront systems would be much better,” added Ward. The channel glass wall achieves a U-value of 0.19, bolstered by Bendheim’s Low-E performance coating and translucent white thermal insulation inserts. The nearly colorless low-iron channel glass with 15-25 percent post-consumer recycled content and the light-diffusing 504 Rough Cast™ surface texture create a luminous, brilliant white aesthetic.
Restoring a Mid-Century Modern Gem
A different, though equally significant use of channel glass is seen at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland, Mich., by WTA Architects. The $440,000 exterior facelift was designed to recreate architect Alden B. Dow’s original design. Outdated red panels along the building’s perimeter were replaced by a gleaming, glacier-like channel glass rainscreen. The translucent Ice™-textured glass was set over sheets of blue-green aluminum, giving the glass its vibrant hue. The addition of the resultant teal-tinted channel glass fascia restored the building’s exterior to its original 1955 expression.
Bendheim’s portfolio features over a dozen channel glass designed libraries, including the multiple-award-winning Minneapolis Central Library by Cesar Pelli, Bronx Library by Dattner Architects, and Los Angeles’ Silver Lake Branch Library by M2A Architects. To learn more about Bendheim’s three dimensional channel glass, please visit https://bendheim.com/glass_type/channel-glass.