How Do Curtain Wall Systems Hold Up?

curtain wall systems have become a popular and widely used glazing system for modern building designs. These glass walls and framed windows add beauty to a structure while providing functional benefits like energy savings. But how do these thin, framed exterior structures hold up such a large expanse of glass? Contrary to popular belief, these structures don’t carry any of the load of the building. They transfer any forces they undergo to the main building structure through connections at floor or column connection points. These systems are also designed to resist air and water infiltration; sway caused by wind and seismic forces; and their own weight.

Typically, curtain wall structures are framed with aluminum or structural steel and can be glazed with either opaque or clear glass. A specialized glass called a point-supported or structural-glass mullion is often used in high-rise buildings to reduce the cost of steel. This enables the structural frame to be smaller which can create additional design flexibility in these types of buildings.

Elevating Architecture: The Advantages of Implementing Curtain Wall Systems

These structures can be classified into two types based on the way they are assembled at the construction site. Stick or conventional curtain wall system is installed piece by piece and requires the use of equipment like scaffolding to reach higher elevations of the construction site. Its time consumption and labor consumption is much more when compared to unitized curtain wall systems which are bought as single units from the factory.

YKK AP offers a wide range of tools and engineering services to help ensure proper system selection, specification, installation, and coordination. Contact your local sales representative to get started.

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