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CURTAIN WALL CONSTRUCTION

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
GSAPP - A4124 BUILDING SYSTEMS AND MATERIALS DEC. 07, 2016
Chris Gembinski, Assistant Adjunct Professor
Curtain-Wall Systems

Evolution of facade technology



Continued reduction in wall mass
from thick solid masonry to thin
panel systems

Increase in the complexity of
detailing and compensation for
movement

Analysis of Thin Wall
Construction
Traditional bearing wall thickness
determined through empirical knowledge

Building higher, with thinner walls
required further analysis

Specifically to determine the effects of
wind, lateral-load resistance, bending
and compressive stresses

Design becomes calculated design

Curtain Wall as Filter
No longer concerned with bearing loads,
the curtain wall now functions to

Withstanding the action of the elements

Controlling the passage inwards and
outwards of heat, light, air and sound

Preventing not only access by intruders but
the entrance also of deteriorating influences
affecting its own integrity
CURTAIN WALL CONSTRUCTION
FUNCTION AND REQUIREMENTS
FUNCTION OF CURTAIN WALL

Separate Indoor Environment From Outdoor

Maintain indoor environmental conditions

Control Sound

Requires airtight properties

Noise isolation varies depending on the levels and tolerances


FUNCTION OF CURTAIN WALL

Keeping Water Out


Prevent the entry of rain,
snow, and ice into a building

Water on the face of a


building is often driven by
wind at high velocities and
high air pressures, not just in
a downward direction
Gravity
Momentum
Surface Tension
Capillary Action
Air Pressure Difference
FUNCTION OF CURTAIN WALL

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Infiltration

Conduction

Convection

Radiation

Infiltration outside air in at


seals and joints (dissimilar

materials)
Conduction transfer through material
(determines resistance value)

Convection transfer through gas/liquid
(condensation, wet wood)

Radiation heat loss/gain
(sun & weather) through glass

FUNCTION OF CURTAIN WALL

Prevent Air Leakage Stop Infiltration

Air leaks can result in water


penetration

Loss of conditioned air

Condense inside the wall

Noise to penetrate
FUNCTION OF CURTAIN WALL

Controlling Water Vapor Stop Condensation

Eliminate condensation inside


the wall

Loss of insulating value

Corrosion

Freeze-thaw deformation

Provide drainage where


condensation is inevitable
FUNCTION OF CURTAIN WALL

Controlling Temperature Manage Radiation


Expansion and contraction of
materials

Differential movements inside


and outside, cladding to frame

Thermal insulation of opaque


wall areas

Insulating glass in Vision


Glass
REQUIREMENTS OF CURTAIN WALLS

Controlling Thermal Conditions Stop Conduction

Thermal Break:

An element of low thermal


conductivity placed in an
assembly to reduce or
prevent the flow of thermal
energy between
conductive materials
REQUIREMENTS OF CURTAIN WALLS

Adjust to Structural Movement

Gravity

Deflections and displacements in the frame

At horizontal load-carrying members, under weight of


large heavy glass sheets

Floor and roof loads acting on the building frame to


which the wall is attached
REQUIREMENTS OF CURTAIN WALLS

Adjust to Wind Loads

Wind largely dictate design, structural framing and


panels, as well as the glass thickness

Winds add to the movement of the wall, affecting joint


seals and wall anchorage.

Recognized also as a major factor contributing to


potential water leakage.
Resisting Wind Loads
The cladding of a building must be
adequately strong and stiff to sustain
the pressures and suctions that will
be placed upon it by wind

The upper reaches of taller buildings
are buffeted by much faster winds,
and wind directions and velocities
are often determined by
aerodynamic effects from
surrounding buildings

CURTAIN WALL CONSTRUCTION
TIMELINE
Development of
Curtain Walls
Glass and metal curtain walls were
developed from:

Empirical knowledge of metal-
fronted facades (cast iron
buildings)

Glass storefront details


Laing Stores
1849


New York, New York
James Bogardus
Grand Central Depot
1871
New York, New York
John B. Snook
First Glass Curtain
Wall

Designed by engineers for


specific loads

No waterproofing details

Grand Central Depot


1871


New York, New York
John B. Snook
Advent of the
Skyscraper
Best Candidates for the first Skyscrapers

First new architecture after church building

Reflect the way architects were perceiving
the new technologies

Skyscraper must have:
1. Usable Height
2. Elevators (c. 1840s)
3. Carry everything on
Structural Frame Western Union Building
1873-1875


New York, New York
George Brown Post
Advent of the
Skyscraper
New York's tallest buildings in 1874

Tower well over 200 feet high

Load bearing walls with wrought-
iron floor beams supporting tile arch
floors


Tribune Building
1874


New York, New York
Richard Morris Hunt
Frame and Panel
Design

Large sheets of plate glass


produced inexpensively

Steel replaces cast iron and wood
frames

Merging of metal storefront and
glass skylight frame design
First Leiter Building
1879


Chicago, Illinois
William Le Baron Jenney
Cantilevered Curtain
Walls
First tile fireproof building

Cast-iron or Copper sheet
metal clad vertical bays

Entire wall system outboard of
the last column line

Constant wall thickness

Set precedent for cantilevering Potter Building
glass curtain wall 1883-1886


New york, New York
Norris Starkweather
Conceived as Curtain
Wall
Conceived as a steel frame intended to
carry the exterior masonry wall

Tallest commercial iron frame building
with a load bearing wall (client request)

First portal system of wind bracing in
America

Large exposures of glass
Monadnock Building
1891


Chicago, Illinois
Burnham and Root
Increasing Lightness
Lower floors, used a granite hand
worked to a thickness between 2"
and 4" and supported by cast-iron
grillwork.

Steel frame lighter than if built in
stone

Reliance Building
1890-1895


Chicago, Illinois
Root and Atwood
Lintels and Outriggers
1895

Lintels could now support bands
of masonry separating windows
and piers


Cage Construction
Curtain Wall

True curtain wall resembles a


cage frame exterior wall

Wall of increasing thickness

Supported on spandrel beams
connected to columns by
cantilevered brackets
Reliance Building
1890-1895


Chicago, Illinois
Root and Atwood
Terra Cotta Curtain
Walls

Decorative facing on frame could


be any material

Example: Decorative outer
facing of terra cotta

Fuller Building
1902


New York, New York
Burnham and Dinkelberg
Increased Window
Area

Code did not directly specify how


much of the wall surface area had
to be masonry

The window area could be
increased to illustrated what could
be achieved

Little Singer Building
1904


New York, New York
Ernest Flagg
3-Wythe Curtain Wall
Innermost wythe structural clay
tile

Outer two wythes brick tied with
header courses

Two interior wythes rest on the
slab and spandrel beams

Outer wythe "hung" from the
middle wythe

First Glass Walls

All glass faade



Cantilevered off reinforced
concrete slab

Grid of glass and cast iron
mullions suspended 3'-3" in front
of the support line
Hallidie Building
1918


San Francisco, California
Willis Polk
Corner and Horizontal
Strip Windows
International Style emerges

Frame and column moving into the
building

Windows suggest structure is
elsewhere

Starrett-Lehigh Building
1931
New York, New York
Corry and Corry
Thinner and Thinner
Wall Construction

Installation still based on


traditional masonry construction

Typically laid up with mortared
joints on mortar beds

Steel rods turned down into holes
drilled into the edges
Empire State Building
1931
Stainless-steel anchors

New York, New York
Schreve, Lamb and Harmon
1930s and 1940s
Steel and concrete framing

Stone cladding no longer structural

Stone cladding becomes curtain wall
material



Changes Masons traditional role in
building history

Framing begins to reveal structural
systems


Walden Terrace
1948


Queens, New York
Leo Stillman
Presidents for Curtain
Walls
Sheet Metal Spires

Appropriately designed, could
clad and entire facade

Chrysler Building
1931


New York, New York
William Van Allen
Consistent Thinness
Limestone cladding 8-inch thick
from base to the top

Thinner than the standard minimum
12-inch walls

First building where cladding is not
tapered to the top

RCA Building
1933


New York, New York
Raymond Hood
Glass Begins to
Replace Stone
Completely separate from building
frame

No role carrying structural support
loads

Building systems and materials
cannot support loads
Equitable Building
1948


Portland, Oregon
Pietro Belluchi
1950s
Composite building panels

Precast-concrete panels
faced with a thin-stone
veneer

Introduction of expansion joints



Vertical expansion joints
(every 30 feet)

Horizontal expansion joints at


every other floor
Sheet-Metal Curtain
Walls
Aluminum framed curtain easily
attached to structural frames

Interlocking members accommodate
movement in the curtain wall system

Precedent rarely followed because
styles dictate glass or masonry walls

Metals resist atmospheric attack but
are expensive used in Alcoa Building
Construction 1953


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Harrison and Abramovitz
United Nations 1950
New York, New York

Secretariat John B. Snook


Lever House
1951
New York, New York
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill

Manufacturers Hanover Trust
1954
New York, New York
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Pre-Cast Concrete
Panel Curtain Walls

Precast concrete panel.



Panels span vertically halfway or
more between floors

Precast panels designed with
panel-to-panel joint as expansion
joint
Pan Am Building
1963


New York, New York
Walter Gropius, Emery Roth, Pietro Belluschi
Pre-Cast and Cast-In-
Place Concrete Panel
Curtain Walls

Exposed cast-in place concrete-


frame buildings

Reliance Building
1890-1895


Chicago, Illinois
Root and Atwood
Thinner and Thinner
Stone fabrication was mechanized
by use of frame saw or gang saw,
which allowed stone panels to be
cut much thinner

Diamond-studded cables used to
cut blocks into slabs increased
efficiency of fabrication

Too Thin?

New issues associated with thin


marble veneer cladding and
modern design and its
technologies emerge

Finlandia Hall
1967-1971


Helsinki, Finland
Alvar Aalto
Corten Steel Curtain
Walls
Corten steel alloy whose corrosion
product is dense and remains bonded
to the base metal

Same behavior exhibited naturally by
aluminum

Prevents corrosion from spreading
deeper into the metal

This color "spreads" over other Annenberg Building
1976
portions of the faade

New York, New York
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Panelized Curtain
Walls
Granite clad, steel-framed truss and
panels span from column to column

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) weather
barrier between the stone and steel
frame

The stone held in place by stainless
steel pins set in epoxy and bolted
520 Madison Avenue
to steel framing 1982


New York, New York
Swanke Hayden & Connell Architects
Panelized Curtain
Walls
Panelized wall construction of
precast concrete and stone

Clad with granite cut < 2-inches
thick attached to precast concrete
backup with mechanical anchors

466 Lexington Avenue


1984


New York, New York
Edward Durell Stone
CURTAIN WALL CONSTRUCTION
CURTAIN WALLS TYPES
Stone Curtain Walls

Monolithic Stone Cladding Panels


The panels are fastened
directly to the frame of the
building

The weight is transferred to two


steel support plates by means
of edge pockets that are cut
into both sides at the stone mill

Each panel is stabilized by a


steel angle strut

Joints are closed with backer


rod and sealant
Stone Cladding on Steel Trusses
Sheets of stone are combined into
large prefabricated panels by
mounting them on structural steel
trusses

Each truss is designed to carry wind


loads and dead load of the stone to
steel brackets that are used to
attach the truss to the building frame

Relatively expensive
Posttensioned Limestone Spandrel Panels
Thick blocks of limestone may be
joined with adhesives into long
spandrel panels and post-
tensioned with strength steel
tendons

The assembly is self supporting


between columns

This is a relatively costly type of


panel
Very Thin Stone Facings
Extremely thin sheets of stone may
be stiffened with a structural
backing such as a metal
honeycomb and mounted as
spandrel panels in in an aluminum
mullion system

Very thin sheets of stone may be


used as facings for precast
concrete curtain wall panels

When specifying the thickness of


stone for any exterior cladding
application, the designer should
work closely with stone supplier.

Thin stones have been a cause of


number of failures of cladding
systems
Precast Concrete Curtain Wall
Precast on site cast
concrete frame 3
1
Panels shown are full story
high containing a fixed
window. Bottom half of
one panel (1) and top half
of the lower panel (2) are
shown

The reinforcing bars are 2


omitted for clarity but
outline of thermal insulation
and interior finishes (3) on
the interior is shown
Stick System
Installed piece by piece

Advantages:
Relatively low costs and minimal bulk

A degree of dimensional adjustment to site
conditions

Location of the glass in or outdoor, flush or
anywhere between

Disadvantages:
Assembled in the field, rather than under
controlled factory conditions

Pre- glazing not possible
Unitized Curtain Walls
Pre-assembled complete with spandrel
panels and sometimes pre-glazed

One, two or sometimes three stories

Advantages:
Assembled under controlled conditions

Minimum of field labor and few joints

Disadvantages:
Bulky and require more space

Protective measures required in transit and
in storage

Special joint details and installation
procedures during assembly
Unit and Mullion
Curtain Walls
Compromise between stick and
unitized

Mullion are installed first, then pre-
assembled units placed between

These units may be full story or divided
into a spandrel and a glass unit
Panel System
Homogeneous units formed from sheet metal
or as castings

Few if any joints except at the glass periphery

Provides an overall pattern for the wall, rather
than a grid pattern or a design having strong
vertical or horizontal accents.

"Architectural": custom made and
consequently expensive

Industrial: produced in large quantity, as
standard products and less expensive

Advantages:
Wider range of design flexibility
Minimal amount of shop labor

Disadvantage:
The system is economically attractive only
when designed with a large number of
identical panels
Outside Glazed
Curtain Wall System
Glass must be installed by standing
on scaffolding

Utilizes a simple set of extruded
shapes

Less expensive

Inside Glazed Curtain
Wall System
Glass can installed by standing on
interior floor deck

Requires more elaborate extrusions

More convenient and economical for
tall buildings




CURTAIN WALL CONSTRUCTION
DETAILING
DETAILING CURTAIN WALLS
Types of Panels

Aluminum Extrusions

Glazing

Connections

Thermal Breaks

Flashings

Sealant Joints
Aluminum Extrusions

Metal most frequently used in


metal-and-glass cladding systems
Lightweight
Self-protecting against
corrosion
Accepts a wide variety of
finishes
Fabricated economically
Aluminum Extrusions
Intricate shapes by extrusion

Screw Slots and Port - accept
screws driven perpendicular to
and parallel to the axis of the
extrusion

Snap-together features that
allow easy assembly of
aluminum and rubber
components
Aluminum Finishes

Organic Coatings

Fluoropolymer
Powder Coating
Baked Enamel

Anodizing
IGUs Insulated Glass Unit
Palais des Congrs 2003
Montral, Quebec
Ttrault, Dubuc, Saia et associs

Stone Masonry
Anchors from c. 1950
Gravity Anchors: Support
weight of stone on building
frame

Lateral Anchors: Hold stone in
plane of wall and transfer wind
loads to building frame.
Both types of support could be
combined in one anchor.


Split-Tail Anchor c. 1950
Stainless Steel

Provides gravity and lateral support in the same anchor


Curtain Wall Connectors Hundreds of Types
FULL BEARING AT FULL BEARING AT FULL BEARING AT ATTACH TO STUD w/ (4) #12-14
ANCHOR LEG ANCHOR LEG ANCHOR LEG CONNECTION TO
SELF-DRILLING SCREWS, FILL
METAL STUD STRUCTURE - SEE
ALL ROUND HOLES.
DETAILS 3/CWC1 & 4/CWC1

FCB43.5
EDGE ANGLE / SLAB
EDGE BY OTHERS

ATTACH TO STUD w/ (2) #14


STRUCTURAL STEEL STRUCTURAL STEEL STRUCTURAL
SHOULDERED SCREWS
BY OTHERS BY OTHERS STEEL BY
(PROVIDED), CENTERED IN
(EDGE ANGLE SHOWN) (EDGE ANGLE SHOWN) OTHERS (EDGE ATTACH TO STUD w/ (4) #12-14 SLOTS (ADJACENT TO "" STAMP)
ANGLE SHOWN) SELF-DRILLING SCREWS, FILL
ALL ROUND HOLES.

FCB45.5 STRUCTURAL
(2) #12-14 SELF-DRILLING (3) #12-14 SELF-DRILLING (4) #12-14 SELF-DRILLING SCREWS, BEAM BY OTHERS
SCREWS, FILL EVERY OTHER SCREWS, LEAVE ONE OUTER FILL ALL ANCHOR HOLES
ANCHOR HOLE ANCHOR HOLE EMPTY
SIMPSON STRONG-TIE
LOCATE WEB SCB SLIDE CLIP
(2) SELF-DRILLING SCREWS (3) SELF-DRILLING SCREWS (4) SELF-DRILLING SCREWS PUNCH-OUT CLEAR
CONNECTION TO OF CONNECTOR
METAL STUD STRUCTURE - SEE C SCB43.5
DETAILS 3/CWC1 & 4/CWC1

FULL BEARING AT FULL BEARING AT FULL BEARING AT


ANCHOR LEG ANCHOR LEG ANCHOR LEG EDGE ANGLE / SLAB
EDGE BY OTHERS

ATTACH TO STUD w/ (4)


#12-14 SELF-DRILLING
SCREWS, FILL ALL
ROUND HOLES

STRUCTURAL STEEL STRUCTURAL STEEL STRUCTURAL


BY OTHERS BY OTHERS STEEL BY
(EDGE ANGLE SHOWN) (EDGE ANGLE SHOWN) OTHERS (EDGE ALTERNATE SHOULDERED SCREW PLACEMENT
ANGLE SHOWN) STRUCTURAL
BEAM BY OTHERS
METAL STUD
CONNECTION TO
STRUCTURE - SEE
SIMPSON STRONG-TIE
DETAILS 3/CWC1 & 4/CWC1
FCB FIXED CLIP (FCB47.5
(2) SIMPSON STRONG-TIE (3) SIMPSON STRONG-TIE (4) SIMPSON STRONG-TIE
LOCATE WEB SHOWN, FCB49.5 AND
POWDER-ACTUATED POWDER-ACTUATED POWDER-ACTUATED FASTENERS,
PUNCH-OUT CLEAR FCB411.5 SIM.)
FASTENERS, FILL EVERY FASTENERS, LEAVE ONE FILL ALL ANCHOR HOLES EDGE ANGLE / SLAB
OTHER ANCHOR HOLE OUTER ANCHOR HOLE EMPTY OF CONNECTOR EDGE BY OTHERS

B FCB W/ MIN. FASTENERS


(2) POWDER-ACTUATED FASTENERS (3) POWDER-ACTUATED FASTENERS (4) POWDER-ACTUATED FASTENERS
ATTACH TO STUD w/ (2) #14
SHOULDERED SCREWS
NOTES: (PROVIDED), CENTERED IN
FULL BEARING AT SEE NOTE 2 1" 1.) SIMPSON STRONG-TIE SCB CONNECTORS SHOWN. FCB CONNECTORS SIMILAR. SLOTS (ADJACENT TO "" STAMP)

CFS CURTAIN WALL


ANCHOR LEG 2.) INSTALLATION REQUIRES FULL BEARING OF THE ANCHOR LEG ON THE SUPPORTING SEE ABOVE FOR ALTERNATE
STRUCTURE. DO NOT OVERHANG CONNECTOR AS SHOWN: SCREW PLACEMENT
3.) INSTALLATION IS BASED ON A MINIMUM 3/16" THICK STRUCTURAL STEEL WITH Fy = 36 KSI.

INSTALLATION DETAILS
CONNECTORS
4.) ACCEPTABLE POWDER-ACTUATED FASTENERS INCLUDE SIMPSON STRONG-TIE 0.145" PDPT
SEE NOTE 2 2" STRUCTURAL
AND 0.157" PDPAT FASTENERS.
5.) WELDED INSTALLATIONS REQUIRE E70XX ELECTRODES WITH A MINIMUM THROAT SIZE BEAM BY OTHERS
EQUAL TO THE CONNECTOR THICKNESS. WELDING SHALL COMPLY WITH AWS D1.3.
6.) ANCHORAGE INSTALLATION PROCEDURES SHALL CONSIDER FIELD CONDITIONS. FOR FASTENER FCB43.5 - (6) SCREWS FCB49.5 - (12) SCREWS
STRUCTURAL STEEL
INSTALLATIONS INTO STEEL BACKED BY CONCRETE, STEEL THICKNESS, EDGE DISTANCE IN SIMPSON STRONG-TIE
BY OTHERS
CONCRETE, TYPE AND STRENGTH OF CONCRETE, ETC. MAY REQUIRE PRE-DRILLING OF BOTH THE LOCATE WEB SCB SLIDE CLIP
(EDGE ANGLE SHOWN)
STEEL AND CONCRETE FOR SELF-DRILLING SCREWS, OR MAY RESULT IN SPALLING OF CONCRETE PUNCH-OUT CLEAR
WELDED FOR POWDER-ACTUATED FASTENERS. OF CONNECTOR

B SCB W/ (2) SCREWS


SCB BYPASS SLIDE CLIP AND FCB BYPASS FIXED CLIP ANCHORAGE TO STEEL 3 (SCB45.5, SCB47.5,
SCB49.5, & SCB411.5)

FULL BEARING AT FULL BEARING AT FULL BEARING AT METAL STUD


ANCHOR LEG ANCHOR LEG ANCHOR LEG FCB45.5 - (9) SCREWS FCB411.5 - (12) SCREWS
CONNECTION TO
CONNECTION TO STRUCTURE - SEE
METAL STUD STRUCTURE - SEE DETAILS 3/CWC1 & 4/CWC1
DETAILS 3/CWC1 & 4/CWC1
EDGE ANGLE / SLAB
EDGE ANGLE / SLAB EDGE BY OTHERS
EDGE BY OTHERS
CONCRETE CONCRETE CONCRETE
SLAB OR BEAM SLAB OR BEAM SLAB OR BEAM ATTACH TO STUD w/ (12) ATTACH TO STUD w/ (3) #14
#12-14 SELF-DRILLING SHOULDERED SCREWS
SCREWS FOR FCB47.5 (PROVIDED), CENTERED IN
SHOWN, FILL ALL HOLES SLOTS (ADJACENT TO "" STAMP)
(SEE ABOVE FOR OTHER
CONNECTORS)
STRUCTURAL
(2) 1/4"x1 3/4" SIMPSON (3) 1/4"x1 3/4" SIMPSON (4) 1/4"x1 3/4" SIMPSON BEAM BY OTHERS
STRUCTURAL
STRONG-TIE TITEN HEX-HEAD STRONG-TIE TITEN HEX-HEAD STRONG-TIE TITEN HEX-HEAD
BEAM BY OTHERS
SCREWS, FILL EVERY OTHER SCREWS, LEAVE ONE OUTER SCREWS, FILL ALL ANCHOR HOLES
ANCHOR HOLE ANCHOR HOLE EMPTY SIMPSON STRONG-TIE
SIMPSON STRONG-TIE LOCATE WEB SCB SLIDE CLIP
FCB FIXED CLIP PUNCH-OUT CLEAR
LOCATE WEB (FCB47.5 SHOWN)

CWC1
(2) ANCHORS (3) ANCHORS (4) ANCHORS OF CONNECTOR
PUNCH-OUT CLEAR
NOTES:
1.) INSTALLATION BASED ON CONCRETE WITH A MINIMUM f'c = 2500 PSI AND A MAXIMUM f'c = 4000 PSI.
OF CONNECTOR A SCB W/ (3) SCREWS
2.) INSTALLATION REQUIRES FULL BEARING OF THE ANCHOR LEG ON THE SUPPORTING STRUCTURE. SEE 3/CWC1, NOTE 4 FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. (SCB45.5, SCB47.5,
3.) SIMPSON STRONG-TIE SCB CONNECTORS SHOWN. FCB CONNECTORS SIMILAR. A FCB W/ MAX. FASTENERS SCB49.5, & SCB411.5)

SCB BYPASS SLIDE CLIP AND FCB BYPASS FIXED CLIP ANCHORAGE TO CONCRETE 4 FCB BYPASS FIXED CLIP 2 SCB BYPASS SLIDE CLIP 1

Curtain Wall Connectors Hundreds of Types


Multiple Metals

Curtain Wall Connectors Hundreds of Types
Multiple Metals

Thermal Bridges
Localized bridged allowing energy
conduction through uninterrupted paths

Cannot be fully avoided specifically at load-
carrying connectors plates for external
attachment of faade elements

Minimize their energy impact and local
condensation risks
Thermal Breaks
A section of material with low
thermal conductivity installed
between metal components to
retard the passage of heat through a
wall or window assembly.


Cast and debridged thermal
break

Inserting Rubber, plastic gaskets


or plastic strips
Expansion Joints
Similar to abutment joints in
curtain walls

At junctions between materials
and elements

Accommodate differential
movement

Closed with sealants to prevent
air and water ingress

Sealants
Linseed oil putty (glazing compound) for
windows was introduced around 1800.

Whiting Putty: Mixture of whiting


(calcium carbonate, chalk) and linseed
oil.

Oil based caulks were introduced around


1900.

White Lead Putty: Mixture of whiting,


white lead, and linseed oil.

Red Lead Putty: Mixture of whiting,


red lead, and linseed oil.

Joints were also sealed with asphaltic


compounds mixed with asbestos fibers
Sealants

Caulk and sealant are


generally used
interchangeably

Caulk is the traditional


material with much less
movement capability than
modern elastomeric
sealants
Sealants
Required by
materials that
have more
movement
than
traditional
masonry
materials

Larger units of
material are
used
Sealant Types
Oil-Based Caulks - Oxidized and polymerized vegetable and other
oils (linseed oil, fish oil, soybean oil, tung oil, and castor oil).

Butyl Rubber - Stiffen in cold and soften in heat

Acrylic Latex Low movement capability and poor tear resistance

Polysulfide - First synthetic rubber, was first manufactured in U.S.


in 1929

Polyurethane - Developed in Germany in 1937; Good adhesion to


masonry, concrete, and metals

Silicone - Invented in 1943; Good weatherability; highly resistant to


UV and ozone deterioration
Joint Conditions
Joint substrates can move in three
planes. In some situations, the
substrates can also twist.

Both backer rods and bond breakers
prevent 3-point adhesion

Backer rods are also used to provide
proper sealant profile

CURTAIN WALL CONSTRUCTION
PERFORMANCE AND MAINTENANCE
PERFORMANCE & MAINTENANCE

Compared to preserving traditional masonry preservation

Thick masonry walls: most of the preservation effort is related to


the behavior of the material

Thin veneer clad walls: deterioration has an effect on the


performance of the system

Curtain Walls: almost all of the failure is in the connections and


the seals
Curtain Wall Maintenance

The main preservation issues for curtain walls revolve


around maintenance

Treatment of joints between materials and elements

Mitigation of movement of water, energy, and air into the


system

Proper design
Mechanisms of Failure

Unintended Loads

Sealant Failure

Water Penetration

Deterioration of Anchors and Ties

Design Variations

Unintended Loads in
Early Curtain Wall
Construction
Effects of Stress on Terra Cotta

Stacking occurs and creates stresses
that are often manifested as cracking in
the units

Deformations if the units if they are
resilient enough, that is not too brittle,
to bend.
Woolworth Building
1913


New York, New York
Cass Gilbert
Unintended Loads in
Early Curtain Wall
Construction

Curtain walls supportedby hung


lintels in the brick coursingor by
brick resting on the floor slab

No provision for
horizontalexpansion joints

Inadvertently to carry structural
loads
Structural Implication
of Unintended Loads

Racking

Concrete frame shrinkage,
deflection, and creep

Expansion and contraction of
steel frame

Deflection of steel frame under
load
Other Unintended
Loads
Stone panels restricted from
expanding and contracting

Mortar in joints
Joints too narrow

Construction tolerances

Hard spacers in joints

Anchors restrain movement
Failure of Seals
Improper sealant selection, outdated
sealant

Improper joint design

Improper installation conditions

Rough substrate prohibiting proper
tooling

Joint movement before sealant has
cured

Sealants Failures

Adhesive failure Cohesive failure


Anchor Failure At Attachment
Thin Stone Veneer Anchor Failure

Cracks or spalls in material at


anchors or supports

Deterioration of anchors or
supports

Anchors or joints improperly


designed to accommodate
movement in building structure
can result in stresses on cladding

Anchors should neither restrict


movement too greatly nor allow
too much movement

Oxidation and Galvanic Corrosion


1967-1971
Finlandia Hall Helsinki, Finland
Alvar Aalto

Bowing Cladding
Clad in Carrara Marble

Original Carrara marble panels
bowed, buckled, and cracked

Regulated by Finnish National Board
of Antiquities
Hysteresis
Results from anisotropic expansion and
contraction of fine calcite crystals.

When the calcite crystals relax towards their
original locations during drops in temperature,
dislocations along the crystal edges keep
crystals from returning to original positions.

Slight increase in volume and porosity

Changes accumulate causing the stone to bow

Become more critical as panels become thinner


Panel Replacement
Between 1990 and 1999, marble
panels were replaced in kind with
new Carrara marble panels with a life
expectancy of 20 to 30 years

By 2001, panels had begun to
deflect. The new Carrara marble
panels have already significantly
deformed.

Deterioration
Mechanisms Stresses
from Extraction and
Fabrication

Vibrations from blasting or other


method to remove overburden

Stresses introduced during
extraction of blocks from quarry

Uneven heating

Bush hammering

Thermal finishing of granite

Stresses from
Handling
Resting on edge

Resting on corner

Improper support during
transportation, installation or storage
Negative Wind Loads
When wind damage does occur, it is
more often in the form of a blow-out
than a blow-in. This explains why
the most common deficiency in
structural design is the failure to
provide adequate resistance,
particularly in anchorage details, to
the suction action of the wind.

TWA Terminal 1962
Queens, New York
Eero Saarinen
Design Variations TWA, 1962
Queens, New York
Eero Saarinen
Repairs to Gaskets
CURTAIN WALL MAINTENANCE

Materials and Systems Behavior: A Changing Perspective

Under certain circumstances the only available method of


repair may require removal of the deteriorated members
and elements and replacement.

Large-scale replacement of curtain wall assemblies may


become more prevalent in the future
CURTAIN WALL CONSTRUCTION
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
GSAPP - A4124 BUILDING SYSTEMS AND MATERIALS DEC. 07, 2016
Chris Gembinski, Assistant Adjunct Professor