In today’s design led world, it’s become increasingly important for architects and building engineers to design aesthetically beautiful structures both inside and out. Working within the restrictions of a budget and space limitations, having cost friendly options available for the structure of the outside of a building is essential. Most architects are striving to create modern, minimalist looking buildings that will stand the test of time. For these reasons, the use of aluminium curtain walling is frequently a popular choice. Here, we explore why.

What is aluminium curtain walling?

An aluminium curtain wall is an external framework, separate from the main construction of a building. It is non structural which provides architects with more design freedom when it comes to the exterior of a building. Also sometimes called façade or curtain glazing, it is a framework constructed from aluminium and glass with no limitations to the size or shape of it’s finished structure.

How and where is it used?

There are two types of curtain walling most commonly used in industry:

Pressure Equalised Systems – this system uses gaskets, pressure plates and external cappings which are designed to provide a finish that is impervious to any moisture.

Face Sealed Systems – this system uses a glass to glass framework whereby utter precision is required when sealing the interface.

Usually, a curtain walling system will rely on aluminium mullions and transoms to support the main structure. The bars that make up the main grid for the walling can come in custom sizes and depths depending on the design.

In the past, aluminium curtain walling would have typically been used for large, public buildings such as shopping centres or office blocks. But in recent years, it has also started being utilised for residential properties and smaller buildings as well. The reason for its use on large buildings is that it has very few design limitations. It’s ability to be used to cover vast exterior spaces means that architects and builders can create buildings that have clean lines and a modern appearance with the benefit of being cost effective too, which we’ll go into more detail about later.

Why aluminium curtain walling?

The transformative qualities that using an aluminium curtain walling possesses is quite remarkable. It’s prevailing use in architecture for nearly 100yrs, is evidence that it remains a popular choice for creating not only functional and durable building exteriors but also stunning ones too – where a designer intends. Because of a curtain walling’s flexibility in terms of size and style, a designer can create structures fabricated solely of glass which is a quality entirely unique to itself.

Added benefits and advantages

In addition to its design appeal, a glass curtain wall has wonderful structural advantages as well. Because it is manufactured out of aluminium, which is a notoriously lightweight material, it can support its own weight efficiently when compared to other building exterior options. This makes the need for expensive additional foundations surplus to requirement, passing on a cost saving benefit to the client. Despite its lightweight character, curtain glazing is substantially stronger than windows alone. On top of this, the systems used to create a glass curtain wall make it fully sealed against the elements. The failsafe weatherproofing that aluminium curtain walling provides means it is a durable, hardy and long lasting way to protect a building.

The aesthetic allure of curtain glazing

Once upon a time, the requirement for a decent amount of daylight within a building may have been considered a frivolous luxury. Nowadays, it’s more or less an essential design stipulation, with exposure to daylight being linked to increased wellbeing and good health. The wealth and quality of light that an aluminium curtain wall affords within a building, is second to none. Indeed, a designer can choose to have the entire exterior of a building constructed just from glass. More frequently, it is used to cover multiple floors or segment between floors. Or sometimes the whole of a side or entrance floor to a building.

Curtain glazing also carries the ability to be used for creating curved shapes to the outside of a building. This sets it apart from other types of materials because not only can it be used in this way, it is also usually an affordable option for most developers who want something special but are working within the limitations of a budget.

Flexibility for a good price

The majority of projects that incorporate the use of an aluminium frames and curtain walling, do so for it’s use of glass. However, other materials can be utilised as well which provides a vast choice for colours, finishes and textures. This makes it hugely appealing for projects where brand integrity is a big consideration.

The fact that facade glazing can look so beautiful, is one of the main reasons that it has started being used more frequently in residential architecture. Light and space are design benefits that more and more homeowners are demanding.
Regardless of the building project, because glass and aluminium can both be budget friendly materials to source, the spectacular design a curtain glazing administers doesn’t need to cost the earth!

The team at Crucial Engineering are a national commercial aluminium fabricator. We manufacture, install and maintain commercial aluminium products to create high quality and secure access solutions. When you work with us you can be sure of a fantastic long term relationship including expert aluminium fabrication services alongside the very best customer service.