A Welcoming Beacon

Dec. 14, 2021
Bentonville, Ark.
Wheeler Kearns

The world’s first building to use Bendheim’s fully customizable projectable glass rainscreen system as a 6,000-sq.-ft. media screen was the Momentary, a contemporary art space in Bentonville, Ark., a satellite of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The custom-imprinted glass scrim wraps an 80-ft. tall concrete stair and elevator tower and incorporates four unique fritted glass designs, ranging from 50% to 80% opaque. The designs were created by Osage graphic artist Addie Roanhorse and were inspired by traditional Osage Native American design motifs.

Bendheim’s Lumi Frit glass cladding lends the tower a brilliant white, ephemeral aesthetic during the day. At night, the white frit pattern, applied to the outermost surface of the glass, bounces front-projected light to create a sharp image. During the museum’s opening, the system was tested as both projection surface and vertical “stage” through a suspended dance performance on the glass.

On the back of the glass, Bendheim’s SatinTech etched finish also acts as a dispersion filter for LED back-lighting. It turns the glass facade into a beacon of light that can be used creatively to highlight special events.

In addition to its artistic application, this glass rainscreen system is also highly functional. The glass cladding stops over 90% of wind-driven rain from reaching the air-and-vapor barrier. The remaining moisture dissipates through drainage and natural ventilation.

“Not only does the glass have art printed onto it via the frit pattern, but we also wanted to be able to use it as a projection surface for video art. The location and size of the rainscreen make it the perfect backdrop for projection. It’s located in the south courtyard, which provides a lot of space for people to sit or stand to view the projection. It’s also visible for a long distance, given it’s one of the tallest buildings in Bentonville. The Tower has become a kind of beacon for the Momentary,” says Calli Verkamp, project architect, Wheeler Kearns Architects.

Judge’s Comment: “Very unique, innovative application of this projectable glass rainscreen on a large surface.”

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