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

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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.