Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Building Envelope Types

Stick system curtain wall
These walls comprise a framework of mullions and transoms arranged to hold glazing units and opaque panels. The framing members have glazing rebates in which the infillpanels are retained. The term is used to describe walls of uniform and regular construction supported from the edge of the buildings floor slabs or edge beams.

Structural glazing
In these walls the glass is attached by bolted connections rather than a glazing rebate. The glass may be attached directly to a structural support frame, for instance a stick system. Alternatively the glass may be suspended from the structure, frequently the roof, or from other glass panels.

The design and construction of these walls requires expertise and knowledge of the structural use of glass. Knowledge of structural engineering and building movements isessential. This may come from the facade contractor but often a structural engineer is involved in the work.

Structural silicone glazing
In glazing systems where the glass is attached by silicone bonding on two or four edges the correct use of silicone is critical to the success of the project. Such contracts require specialised skills and the silicone supplier is often involved at the design stage. When structural silicone glazing is to be sub contracted by the facade contractor the subcontractor should be identified and be able to demonstrate suitable experience and technical support.

Slope glazing
Slope glazing is defined as all glazing that slopes more than 15 degrees from the vertical.Although it comprises a supporting framework of glazing bars it is different from sticksystem curtain walling.

Slope glazing contracts often comprise not only the supply and erection of the glazing framework but also the secondary steelwork required to support the roof. Slope glazing has to carry snow loading and accommodate the movement of support structures that are relatively flexible. The drainage from the framing profiles is also very different from that for a vertical wall.

Rainscreen comprises panels supported from a framework placed in front of an innerwall. The inner wall may be an existing or new blockwork or concrete wall. Alternatively the inner wall may be integral with the rainscreen panels and frame. In the latter case the design and construction are more complex and the experience of the contractor is an important consideration in making an appointment.

Commercial windows
This term is used to describe windows installed into commercial buildings. The windows may be essentially domestic grade windows but the contract terms and management skills required of the specialist contractor will be different from those for the installation of windows into a private dwelling.

Commercial doors
This term is used in the same sense as the description of commercial windows above.

Shop fronts
Shop fronts are very different from glazed curtain walls or large windows. The profiles to be used are larger than those for windows yet the performance requirements are lessonerous than those for curtain walls. Glass handling and glazing become an issue and shop fronts require particular experience of shop doors.

Domestic window installers generally work in the replacement window market and their training relates specifically to that type of work. Specialist contractors should be able to demonstrate familiarity with commercial forms of contract and site working practices as appropriate.

Industrial cladding
This very broad term has been used to describe all forms of cladding that are predominantly opaque and comprise metal or similar panels.

Pre-cast concrete walls may be constructed as either panellised walls (panels of structural bay width) or unitised walls (units of smaller size). In the directory both are included under this heading. Panellised walls require specialist knowledge and skills of handling and fixing the large panels. In both cases the specialist contractor may undertake to supply and install windows off site. It is important that the necessary mix if skills and knowledge are available.

This description of wall has been included to cover specialist contractors who can supply curtain walls containing natural stone. It would also cover specialist sub-contractors who can supply stone for inclusion in a curtain wall.

Panellised walls are prefabricated as large structural bay width panels. These are either precast concrete panels or a steel truss to which the cladding is attached in a factory. Panellised wall construction requires a specialist contractor to have extensive manufacturing, and more importantly storage facilities. Panellised truss walls may incorporate many different materials and cladding types. Consideration should be givento the previous experience of the specialist contractor, for instance do they have experience of fixing stone.

Unitised walls are prefabricated into units of width 1 to 2 metres and height 1 to 2storeys. The construction of a unitised wall is more complex than that of a stick systemwall. In particular the design and construction of joints is more complex. A specialist contractor also has to have the ability to store, handle and transport prefabricated units.


Sunday, July 27, 2008


Facadism (also façadism or facadomy) is the practice of renovating old buildings leaving the facade of a building intact while demolishing and rebuilding its innards.

This is often seen as a compromise between property developers who need to develop properties for modern uses and standards and preservationists who wish to preserve buildings of historical interest. It can be regarded as as compromise between Historic Preservation and Demolition. The practice is derided by preservationists however because it is seen as destructive, where a building is essentially destroyed save for its most superficial details. Despite being highly controversial and denounced by preservationists as vandalism, facadism appears when desire for preservation overwhelms demand for new development.

The practice of facadism conflicts with ICOMOS international charters. The Venice Charter, article 7, states that: A monument is inseparable from the history to which it bears witness and from the setting in which it occurs. The moving of all or part of a monument cannot be allowed except where the safeguarding of that monument demands it or where it is justified by national or international interest of paramount importance.

Ref.: Wikipedia

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Roofing System

Prior to the mid-to-late 1970s, almost all low-slope roofs were asphalt or coal tar built-up roofs. However, during the last two decades of the 20th century, a variety of other types of low-slope roof systems began to compete with traditional built-up roofs (BUR). These newer systems included modified bitumens, single-plies, sprayed polyurethane foam, and metal panels. While the modified bitumen systems are related to BUR, the other low-slope alternatives are radically different. Along with new choices of membrane materials, plastic foam roof insulations also emerged in the 1970s. The abundance of materials from which to choose has greatly complicated roof system design.

To select, detail and specify the most appropriate roof system for a project, the architect should ideally have at least a general understanding of the available material options.

Note: Low-sloped roofs are defined as those roofs with a slope less than or equal to 3:12 (25 percent). However, with the exception of metal roofs, most low-slope roofs have a slope of about ¼:12 (2 percent). Steep-slope roofs are defined as those roofs with a slope greater than 3:12 (25 percent). Some materials can be used on both low- and steep-slopes, while others are limited to either low- or steep-slope.

Ref.: TLSmith Consulting Inc.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Creepy Design

A Creepy Design...in Shanghai
Under design stage for a signature apparel and bags company.
Scope of Building Envelope includes alum. cladding, skylight,
curtain wall, glass wall, shop front, sun shades, etc
Facade Consultant: HS&A Ltd. (Hong Kong)

Friday, July 11, 2008

New Pics on Cwallpinoy Photo Albums

Cwallpinoy Member Photo Album
(you can can add yours too)

New cwallpinoy photos:

Note: for cwallpinoy members only.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Low-E Coatings

Low-E Coatings

Low-emittance (Low-E) coating are microscopically thin, virtually invisible, metal or metallic oxide layers deposited on a window or skylight glazing surface primarily to reduce the U-factor by suppressing radiative heat flow. The principal mechanism of heat transfer in multilayer glazing is thermal radiation from a warm pane of glass to a cooler pane. Coating a glass surface with a low-emittance material and facing that coating into the gap between the glass layers blocks a significant amount of this radiant heat transfer, thus lowering the total heat flow through the window. Low-E coatings are transparent to visible light. Different types of Low-E coatings have been designed to allow for high solar gain, moderate solar gain, or low solar gain.

Ref.: Window Technologies

Monday, June 16, 2008

Technopolis Project

Technopolis 2
One of my Freelance for a Facade consultant in Singapore. Scope: building facade conceptual details.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

e-Group Tip - Advanced Message Search

Advanced Message Search

Did you know that there’s an advanced message search feature within our Cwallpinoy e-Group?
Just click Advanced next to the search box on our group’s messages page, a new page opens up with options you can select to create a very specific search of messages within our group. This tool allows you to search for messages from a specific timeframe or date range, from a specific member, or by subject or topic.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hangzhou Project

Hangzhou, China
Architect: Callison Architecture
Facade Consultant: HS&A Ltd.
Commercial building with 5 residential blocks. Building envelope consist of stone cladding, curtain wall, skylights, glass canopies, channel glass walls, window wall, spider point fixings, shop fronts, alum. cladding, louvres, sunshades, steel trellis, glass balustrades and metal roofings.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sloped Glazing

Skylights have been used for over a century to provide interior daylighting. Early skylight systems consisted of plate glass (later wire glass) in metal frames and frequently incorporated both an exterior skylight and a decorative interior "diffuser" or "laylight". Most contemporary skylights now consist of insulating glazing captured in aluminum frames that in many configuration (e.g. single slope, ridge, pyramid, barrel vault). Skylights are engineered systems that are assembled from standard or custom extrusions provided by skylight manufacturers, and i.g. units made by glazing fabricators, but they share common design elements required to make them perform. In the construction industry, the term "skylight" is often applied to relatively small shop-fabricated unit-skylights, frequently with plastic glazing.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cwallpinoy Links

Here are some links to Cwallpinoy e-groups:

To Download files:

To Download Usefull Infos/Documents:

To post message:
Cwallpinoy Message box

To view group photos:

To view current members:

To read previous emails of Curtain Wall Lessons:

Note: The above links are exclusive to Cwallpinoy members...


Monday, June 2, 2008


Prior to 1900, windows in the U.S. were predominantly wood frame, with some custom metal windows (iron, bronze, steel) in institutional construction. Around 1900, some British manufacturers of custom metal windows adopted the technology of rolled steel shapes to produce special rail profiles for windows. Two of the more prominent British steel window companies opened U.S. manufacturing companies to produce rolled steel windows. The fire resistance of steel windows with wire glass helped popularize steel window use in the U.S. in the early 1900's. Catastrophic fires in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco led to the development of building regulations that restricted the use of combustible materials in many types of construction. After World War II, the technology of extruding aluminum frames developed and aluminum windows began to gain popularity. By the 1990's, aluminum-framed windows accounted for approximately 65% of the commercial window market. Wood, vinyl and steel-framed windows comprise most of the remaining 35% of the market.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Glass has been used for thousands of years to allow daylight into our buildings, while providing weather protection. The development of the float glass process in the 1950's allowed the economical mass production of high quality flat glass and virtually all architectural glass is now produced by this process. The vast majority of new windows, curtain walls and skylights for commercial building construction have insulating glazing for energy efficiency and comfort.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Join Cwallpinoy e-Group!

If you are working from a Facade Consultant, Facade Contractor, Inhouse Facade Consultant or working from any other Building Envelope Industry, you are welcome to join...

to join, go to:

Please indicate your name and other particulars.

The membership is by approval only, to minimize
spammers and out of industry topics.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Precast concrete

Is an ancient type of construction material made with concrete cast in a reusable mold or "form" and cured in a controlled environment, then transported to the construction site and lifted into place. In contrast, standard concrete is poured-in-place in large forms and cured on site. Precast "stone" is distinguished from precast concrete by using a fine aggregate in the mixture so the final product approaches the appearance of naturally occurring rock or stone.

Ancient Roman builders made use of concrete and soon poured the material into molds to build their complex network of aqueducts, culverts and tunnels. Modern uses for precast technology include a variety of architectural applications including free-standing walls used for landscaping, soundproofing and security walls. Precast architectural panels are also used to clad all or part of a building facade. Stormwater drainage, water and sewage pipes and tunnels make use of precast concrete units. The advantages of using precast concrete is the increased quality of the material, when formed in controlled conditions, and the reduced cost of constructing large forms used with poured-in-place concrete.

There are many different types of precast concrete forming systems for architectural applications, differing in size, function and cost.


Refer to the application of one material over another to provide a weather-proof layer intended to control the infiltration of weather elements. Cladding does not necessarily have to provide a water-proof condition but is instead a control element. This control element may only serve to safely direct water or wind in order to control run-off and prevent infiltration into the building structure. Cladding applied to windows is often referred to as window capping and is a very specialized field.

Curtain Wall

Is a term used to describe a building façade which does not carry any dead load from the building other than its own dead load. These loads are transferred to the main building structure through connections at floors or columns of the building. A curtain wall is designed to resist air and water infiltration, wind forces acting on the building, seismic forces, and its own dead load forces.

Curtain walls are typically designed with extruded aluminium members, although the first curtain walls were made of steel. The aluminium frame is typically infilled with glass, which provides an architecturally pleasing building, as well as benefits such as daylighting. However, parameters related to solar gain control, such as thermal comfort and visual comfort are more difficult to control when using highly-glazed curtain walls. Other common infills include: stone veneer, metal panels, louvers, and operable windows or vents.

Curtain walls differ from storefront systems in that they are designed to span multiple floors, and take into consideration design requirements such as: thermal expansion and contraction; building sway and movement; water diversion; and thermal efficiency for cost-effective heating, cooling, and lighting in the building.

Highrise Facades

In modern highrise buildings, the exterior walls are often suspended from the concrete floor slabs. Examples include curtain walls, claddings and precast concrete walls. The facade can at times be required to have a fire-resistance rating, for instance, if two buildings are very close together, to lower the likelihood of fire spreading from one building to another.
Whether rated or not, fire protection is always a design consideration both in terms of concern for the subject building as well as for the surroundings, as falling glass can endanger pedestrians, firefighters and firehoses below.

Some building codes also limit the percentage of window area in exterior walls. When the exterior wall is not rated, the perimeter slab edge becomes a junction where rated slabs are abutting an unrated wall. For rated walls, one may also choose rated windows and fire doors, to maintain that wall's rating.

Building Facade

Facade or façade is generally one side of the exterior of a building, especially the front, but also sometimes the sides and rear. The word comes from the French language, literally meaning "frontage" or "face".
In architecture, the façade of a building is often the most important from a design standpoint, as it sets the tone for the rest of the building. Many facades are historic, and local zoning regulations or other laws greatly restrict or even forbid their alteration.

The façade of a modern building is one of the most expensive and important elements of building construction.