Façades have the ability to transform how we see architectural spaces and, in recent decades, glazed curtain walling systems have become increasingly popular – on commercial and residential buildings alike.
Enclosing the envelope of the building, there are two main types of curtain walling: stick and unitised facades. These can be adapted from their standard design to create bespoke features which are engineered to emphasise geometry or a particular aesthetic appearance. As a result, curtain wall systems equip architects with the freedom to create an aesthetically led facade which meets the specific performance requirements of the building.
Elevating performance and aesthetics
Spanning multiple floors and covering a large surface of the building, curtain wall forms a significant part of the envelope. As such, systems can directly impact key performance considerations, including water tightness and thermal characteristics, daylighting, ventilation regimes, acoustics and building movement.
The systems’ test data speaks for itself, with each different curtain wall type offering varying levels of performance, depending on characteristics like profile design, gaskets and openings. CW 50, for example – the leading curtain wall system from Reynaers – offers all-round performance having passed CWCT Sequence B testing, providing independent accreditation. Different technical variants can also accommodate specific fire resistance requirements where needed.
While the technical performance of curtain walling is a primary consideration for architects, aesthetic requirements are another factor for including them in a building’s design. As a fast and cost-effective way of introducing large volumes of glazing into a building, these systems hold the potential to define a building’s appearance.
For occupants, the benefits are clear to see. Large and often full height windows flood rooms with natural light, making spaces more comfortable, practical and modern. Alongside the positive impact this can have on wellbeing, curtain wall systems can introduce greater connections between inside and outside spaces and maximise views, further elevating the appeal of buildings for occupants. From the outside, curtain walling equips buildings with a distinctive appearance which defines their unique character. To achieve this, it is crucial for architects to specify systems which facilitate creative freedom, without compromising the performance benefits required.
Ensuring correct specification
To unlock the full suite of benefits which are made possible through curtain walling, it is crucial to work closely with suppliers and collaborate with design teams from the very outset of a project. Particularly on large scale projects, such as high-rise buildings where curtain walling is most in demand, this approach ensures success.
Through the Reynaers Consult programme, in-house specialist consultants, engineers and technicians work closely with architects and building professionals to offer technical assistance. This close collaboration facilitates a deeper understanding of a project’s specific requirements and allows for the correct systems to be specified, including bespoke systems which are tailor-made to meet the specific demands of a project.
By working together with partners throughout the supply chain, architects and building professionals can lean on wider expertise and bring their visions to life with glazed curtain wall systems, while weaving uncompromising performance and quality into the fabric of their buildings.