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Unitized Curtain Walls are the Latest Design Showstoppe

Unitized Curtain Walls are the Latest Design Showstoppe

Most people have admired unitized curtain walls whether they were aware of the innovative design or not. Think about the last time you were in a major metropolitan downtown and walked among the giant, shimmering structures that dominate the landscape. Or enjoyed the view from a major thoroughfare, taking in the glimmering buildings that stood out from their boring counterparts. Architects are no longer limited to the traditional rectangular glass shaped towers. The bendable, geometric, sloping designs available with these wall systems not only offer structural benefits, but can also deliver visually stunning outcomes.  

These unitized curtains are non-structural lightweight aluminum framed walls connected to the building containing infills of glass, metal and stones. Lite panels can range dramatically but are often floor to ceiling applications emphasizing daylighting, embracing views, and providing a stronger connection to the outdoors. Panels cut in various patterns give designers creative flexibility with geometric customization. This complicated-looking facade can easily be a showstopper on highly visible projects.

The primary purpose of a curtain wall is to provide structural safety while protecting the building’s interior. The unitized wall can also protect against environmental factors such as earthquakes, rain, wind, extreme sun exposure and dramatic temperature changes. With volatile weather patterns becoming the norm, more attention than ever is being paid to design solutions that can offset these hazards.    

One recent trend with these systems is the integration of multiple infill materials that are glazed into unitized curtain panels. There are several choices of infill materials that allow for unique designs with various finishes, shapes and textures. Materials such as stone, metal and terracotta are gaining popularity and can add additional benefits:

  • Stone infills such as marble, travertine, limestone and others help create a weather barrier limiting the possibilities of leaks between the areas but support that seamless look.
  • Metal panels have also been used frequently and include material compositions such as stainless steel, copper, zinc and aluminum composite panels. These materials add to the overall texture and shape adding to the structure’s unique and every changing design.
  • Terracotta infills are very lightweight and available in a variety of colors, patterns, sizes, and shapes.

Ease of construction, lightness, quality detailing, weather capabilities, thermal performance, environmental benefits and strong connection to the outdoors are all important reasons as to why unitized curtain walls are one of the most popular design applications currently being used.

For more information on this system and other groundbreaking design solutions, contact SunBelt Glass at 205-595-8112. For over 20 years, we’ve successfully completed projects ranging including healthcare facilities, educational institutions, office buildings, top retailers, small businesses, and more. We’re here to help turn your ideas into your next project.

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