Glass Rainscreen by Bendheim Protects N.J. College’s Newest Building

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Design Adds Modern, High-Tech Look to Essex County College

Essex County College in New Jersey turned to Bendheim to custom-engineer an 8,000 square foot rainscreen for a new building on its West Caldwell, N.J. campus, bringing a dramatic, high-tech aesthetic transformation to the inner-city school.

Our glass rainscreen system creates a barrier envelope around the building, effectively protecting it from moisture. The “shingled” rainscreen system of clear laminated glass covers the finished façade. The precision-engineered system stops over 90 percent of wind-driven moisture and is fully adjustable, allowing for quick and easy installation. We collaborated with Netta Architects to design and hide the rainscreen’s structural brackets behind the fiber cement cladding. The Wall H system was attached directly to the exterior stud wall, eliminating the need for continuous structural steel support and thereby reducing the cost of the installation.

Glass rainscreen by Bendheim.

Essex County College, West Caldwell, NJ by Netta Architects. Photo by Bendheim.

Essex CC, a two-year college, opened in 1968 and enrolls about 5,500 students. The new building is a 51,700 square foot, four-story structure that sits on the site of the original campus, a converted, century-old elementary school. The elementary school was razed in 2021 to allow for construction of the new building. “The new state-of-the-art campus is our fulfillment of our vision of transforming lives,” ECC President Dr. Augustin A. Boyake said.

Rainscreens are exterior wall cladding barrier systems that stand away from a building’s exterior weather-resistant constructed facade. Rainscreens protect the building façade from water infiltration, controlling water drainage and evaporation. The elegant glass over-cladding completely transforms and elevates the appearance of a building as it provides a maintenance-friendly, durable, non-porous glass surface.

“Decorative glass rainscreen systems are an ideal means of increasing a building’s longevity with an easily maintained facade,” Bendheim President Donald Jayson said. “Glass is one of the most durable building materials to stand up to rain and wind. Water is the biggest factor in the premature deterioration of buildings.”

Glass rainscreen by Bendheim.

Essex County College, West Caldwell, NJ by Netta Architects. Photo by Bendheim.

The Wall-H system is ideal for second-skin facades featuring horizontally overlapping glass panels. The mechanical compression glass fittings provide increased strength and security, and individual glass panels can be replaced without deglazing surrounding panels.

The new building contains administrative offices, classrooms, labs, an auditorium/lecture hall and an admission center. John Johnston, project designer for Netta Architects, said the new campus consists “of a lot of glass and openness, driven by technology and a modern Information Commons. It will be a place where students want to come and stay. It will be a pinnacle to this County for years to come.”

DMD Contracting constructed the building and Glass Systems, Inc., of Hillsborough, N.J. installed the rainscreen.

Our systems allow water to escape and air to circulate, reducing the risk of mold, mildew and water damage. Any small amount of water making its way past the glass is drained and channeled away from the building. Any water vapor is ventilated out the top of the system as air circulates upward between the rainscreen and the exterior building wall.

Bendheim rainscreens have been fully tested in accordance with ASTM & AAMA requirements and proven to be highly effective against water penetration.

About Bendheim

Bendheim is one of the world’s foremost resources for specialty architectural glass. Founded in New York City in 1927, the fourth-generation, family-owned company offers a virtually unlimited range of in-stock and custom architectural glass varieties. Bendheim develops, fabricates, and distributes its products worldwide. The company maintains production facilities in New Jersey and an extensive showroom in New York City