- Channel (U-Shaped) Glass
- Textured Glass
- New Construction
- Educational & Museums
- Kansas City, MO
- Completion Year
- Approx. Surface Area
- 50,000 sq. ft. (used over 100,000 sq. ft. of double-glazed channel glass)
- Steven Holl Architects - New York, NY; and BNIM Architects - Kansas City, MO
- Carter Glass Co., Kansas City, MO
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art introduced Bendheim’s Lamberts® channel glass to North America. It is the key design element of Steven Holl’s Bloch Building addition. The glass channels reach continuous heights up to 23 feet, forming 5 glass “lenses” that float over the landscape. The U-shape of the lites lends strength to the glass, allowing it to create relatively lightweight facades of grand proportions, with minimal horizontal framing and virtually no visible vertical framing.
The custom 16” wide low iron glass channels are tempered, sandblasted, and utilize Okapane thermal insulation to improve the thermal performance of the building and its aesthetic. During the day, the channel glass fills the interior with diffused natural light, while at night the insulated, sandblasted glass structures glow from within like lanterns.
“Owing to a solar texture on the outer surface of the channel glass and the sandblasted inner face of this outer wall, the exterior takes on an opalescent sheen in sunlight… As exterior conditions change, a glinting moire pattern emerges. While vertical joints composed of silicone tubes and sealants disappear from view, Holl designed the aluminum sills and headers for the planks as staggered horizontal lines: He didn’t want them to read as edges of the floor plates, but to reaffirm the overall asymmetrical theme.” (from “Architectural Record” – July 2007)
Bendheim’s Lamberts® channel glass is available in a range of light-diffusing surface options, seen here in our ultra-colorless, low-iron “Solar” fine-mesh texture. Sandblasting and a translucent white insulation material, inserted in the cavity of the double-glazed channel glass wall, create structures that react with light for an ever-changing appearance. During the day, they can appear solid and brilliant white or blend into the sky. The first Nelson-Atkins “lens” forms a bright and transparent lobby, with café, art library and bookstore, inviting the public into the museum and encouraging movement via ramps toward the galleries as they progress downward into the garden. Nighttime turns the five channel glass lenses into ghostly illuminated forms that become a signature sculptural presence on the museum’s grounds. The glass is continuously reacting with the light to create unpredictable phenomena: diffusion, diffraction, refraction, reflection, and absorption, creating a myriad of kinetic visual effects.
Bendheim’s technical design team often collaborates with clients to create unique framing solutions. At the Nelson-Atkins museum, the horizontal channel glass frames are purposefully staggered to reaffirm the overall asymmetric theme of the design. For more information on the project, please read this case study.
Awards & Recognitions
- AIA National Honor Award, 2008
- AIA Architecture Firm Award winner – BNIM, 2011
- Excellence in Architecture Award, AIA Central States Region, 2007
- Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture, AIA Kansas, 2007
- Design Excellence Honor Award, AIA Kansas City, 2007
- Glass – Craftsmanship in Architecture/Honor with Integrity in Execution Award, AIA Kansas City, 2007
- Travel and Leisure Design Awards 2008 Best Museum – Honorable Mention
- AIA New York Chapter Honor Award, 2008
- Leaf (UK) New Built Award, 2007
- IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) Illumination Awards for exterior and interior, 2008
- Architectural Lighting Design Award, Outstanding Achievement/Whole Building Project, 2008
- Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award, 2008
- Buildings magazine Modernization Citation of Excellence, 2008
- World Architecture Festival – Shortlisted, 2008
- Vanity Fair, Architecture’s 21 Modern Marvels, 2010
- Time Magazine, #1 Among The 10 Best (New and Upcoming) Architectural Marvels, 2007