Westwood Branch Library
The architect’s decision to look beyond traditional glazing to naturally illuminate the Westwood Branch Library in Los Angeles presented a welcoming challenge for glaziers from Harris Glass Co. in Bell, Calif.
Designers from Steven Ehrlich Architects in Culver City, Calif., chose two types of tempered channel glass from Bendheim Wall Systems, with western offices in Oakland, Calif.
“It was a bit of a challenge installing the channel glass initially in the sense that it’s a new product to us,” says Mark Mischel, president of Harris Glass Co. “I did a job with channel glass probably 20 years ago, but nothing in between. There was a learning curve that we had to go through as far as being proficient at installing it.”
Mischel says any initial installation obstacles were easily overcome and well worth it, considering the end product. “The channel glass gives it an open look, where the light really plays off inside,” he says.
Bendheim provided clear and textured channels spanning almost 20 feet high for the project. Bendheim’s V60 frame allows the façade to meet the area’s seismic activity requirements.
In addition to providing function, Mischel says, the façade creates a modern image for the library. “When you think of a library, you can think of the past or of the future,” he says. “I always like to look toward the future. This building really gives you the feeling of transcending time and going into the future.”
Mischel expects to come across more channel glass projects. “As channel glass gets more publicity, and as people see it used in buildings such as this, designers will begin to see it as a functional architectural detail.”
The building also features curtain wall and window wall systems from United States Aluminum, with a California facility in Los Angeles. Trident Consolidated Industries, now part of Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. of Tamarac, Fla., provided several types of glass, including 1⁄2-inch laminated, clear, low-emissivity, and 1-inch insulating units with clear, low-emissivity glass.
The 12,000-square-foot library was completed in February 2005. The $6 million project is one of the last of 36 libraries completed as part of Los Angeles’ 1998 Library Bond Program.