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Curtain Wall System

Curtain wall systems are a non-structural cladding systems for the external walls of buildings. They are generally associated with large, multi-storey buildings.

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Curtain walls separate the interior from the exterior, but only support their own weight and the loads imposed on them (such as wind loads, seismic loads and so on) which they transfer back to the primary structure of the building. This is in contrast to many forms of traditional construction in which the external walls are a fundamental part of the primary structure of the building.
Typically curtain wall systems comprise a lightweight aluminum frame onto which glazed or opaque infill panels can be fixed. These infill panels are often described as ‘glazing’ whether or not they are made of glass.

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Curtain wall systems emerged in the 19th century with the development of large glass panels and became more common from the 1930’s when aluminum was made available as a construction material for the first time. They are now closely associated with the modernist movement and in particular, the international style, which became popular in the middle of the 20th century. This was an ornament-free, stark form of modernism, characteristically by the repetition of units and the extensive use of glass. It is a style that is still in widespread use for tall buildings in cities around the world.