The University of Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum has transformed its appearance with a new entrance featuring Bendheim Wall Systems’ channel glass. Designed by New York City-based WORKac, the welcoming, light-filled entrance with its dramatic staircase creates a sense of openness throughout the reception area.
“With the help of Bendheim Wall Systems, WORKac’s renovation of the Blaffer Museum came to life through the amazing possibilities of channel glass,” said Dan Wood, principal and co-founder of WORKac. “Bendheim was a pleasure to work with, and, together, we produced a refreshing and beautiful new landmark for the University of Houston and the city at large.”
The architects worked closely with Bendheim Wall Systems’ team to achieve the slanted appearance of the facade while staying on budget. The cost-effective alternative to the custom angle-cut channel glass stepped the glass channels within the framing system and incorporated an aluminum flashing to create the sloped appearance. The concealed design change substantially lowered the cost of material when compared to an angle-cut channel glass solution and also facilitated the installation.
The architects selected Lamberts 504 Rough Cast, pebble textured channel glass, with a blue-gray Azur coating to enhance the solar heat gain coefficient of the wall, to help the building remain cool in the hot Texas climate. Bendheim Wall Systems’ SF60 thermally broken framing system provides additional thermal performance.
WORKac’s design enhances the building’s entrance, improves the flow of pedestrian traffic into the museum and creates a more welcoming entrance to the public. The renovation marked “the most significant facility improvement in the museum’s 38-year history, providing both a much-needed physical upgrade and an identity-defining statement,” according to Blaffer Art Museum’s Director and Chief Curator Claudia Schmuckli.