Channel Glass by Bendheim Creates “Centers of Light” at Steven Holl Architects’ New University of Iowa Visual Arts Building

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20-foot-tall curved channel glass walls by Bendheim set a high standard for daylighting at the new University of Iowa Visual Arts Building. Steven Holl Architects selected the three-dimensional, U-shaped glass for its unmatched ability to create seamless curved walls of seemingly impossible spans, defying the norms of traditional glass architecture.

The light-diffusing channel glass walls bring high-quality, filtered natural light to the studios and open-loft spaces within, creating a bright and productive environment where students and instructors can mingle and work. The concave glazed openings are carved into the rectilinear building form, creating multiple “centers of light.” The undulating glass walls break up otherwise flat expanses, and draw the eye to explore and connect.

The unique geometry of the U-shaped channels makes the glass self-supporting, allowing it to span much greater distances than the architect could feasibly achieve with flat glass. Installed vertically – as in the Visual Arts Building – the glass can span heights up to 23 feet and limitless lengths, while requiring minimal metal framing.

“It would be virtually impossible to create curved glass walls of these dimensions without channel glass,” remarked Said Elieh, Director of Technical Design for Bendheim Wall Systems. “Even if the equipment and expertise to custom-bend 20-foot-tall glass were accessible and affordable, the openings would have required some form of intermittent vertical framing. Channel glass creates uninterrupted sightlines and an elegant, seamless appearance.”

The surface texture of the glass channels and the encapsulated translucent thermal insulation evenly diffuse light, acting as built-in glare control devices. Even the brightest direct sunlight is morphed into ideal, soft daylight, providing students greater comfort and flexibility within the space.

In addition to the impressive glare reduction and a high Visible Light Transmission (VLT) of approximately 40%, the insulated channel glass walls offer improved thermal performance, achieving a U-value of 0.24.

At night, the expansive glass curves and screened window openings evenly project interior light to the outdoors, creating a lantern effect.

To learn more about Bendheim channel glass, please visit

About Bendheim

Bendheim, founded in New York City in 1927, is one of the foremost resources for specialty architectural glass. The fourth-generation, family-owned company stocks over 2,000 architectural glass varieties and offers virtually unlimited custom design solutions. Bendheim develops and distributes its products worldwide, maintaining glass production facilities in New Jersey and an extensive to-the-trade showroom in Tribeca, New York City.