Curtain Systems

BIM for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Curriculum


Designing Curtain Grid Patterns 

How would you specify a curtain wall's properties to create vertical gridlines that are equally spaced - for example, 5 feet (1.5 meters) apart - on all sides of a building regardless of wall length?

Equally spaced gridlines can be created by editing a curtain wall's type properties. By select the Fixed Distance option for the vertical grid pattern layout and assigning a spacing, the new condition will be met for all walls using this wall type.

To change how excess wall is distributed if the wall length is not evenly divisible by the desired spacing, you can change the justification instance property for each wall separately.

How would you specify panels of equal size but no larger than 10 feet (3 meters) wide?

By changing the vertical grid layout to the Maximum Spacing option, you can set a target spacing that will not be exceeded. This option will evenly divide a curtain wall until the actual spacing is close to the desired spacing, leaving no need for a justification option.

If you change the grid pattern layout and spacing rules for an existing curtain wall type, are the walls that have already been placed updated using the new rules?

Yes. If the type properties of a curtain wall have been changed, all walls that have been assigned to that type will be updated. However, if instance properties are changed, only the wall being edited will be changed.

Adjusting Grids and Mullions

Would it be easier to start by specifying a regular pattern in the curtain wall's type properties, then modify it? Or would it be better to manually subdivide the wall by adding curtain grids individually?

If a pattern is simple, or it is to be repeated on multiple walls, then it would be easier to specify a regular pattern in the type properties. If only minor adjustments to the pattern are going to be made, then assigning a regular pattern may again prove to be helpful.

However, if each wall is extremely different, or the desired pattern is extremely complex, it may be easier to start from scratch instead of with a predefined pattern.

What types of patterns cannot be made using the layout options in the curtain wall type properties?

Vertical and horizontal grid lines can be placed at angles, offset, added, or removed, however, there is no option to create circular or curved grid lines.

How do you change the mullion properties (for example, the profile or the material) for a curtain wall type?

If the mullions are placed using the curtain wall\u2019s type properties, then the mullion properties cannot be changed. We are only able to select a new, existing type within the curtain wall's type properties.

If mullions are placed separately, they can be selected, changed, duplicated, and altered just like most other components in Revit.

Creating and Using Curtain Panel Types 

What types of materials are typically used in curtain wall panels?

Glazing, which usually refers to glass or plastic finishes, typically make up curtain wall panels since they usually have a wide range of transparency properties that can be used for different applications. However, almost all materials - such as metal cladding, stone veneer, and wood - can be used as curtain wall panels.

How are opaque or semitransparent panels used in a curtain wall designs?

Absolute transparency is not always needed in curtain walls. Opaque and semitransparent panels can be used architecturally to create private spaces such as meeting rooms or bathrooms. They can also simply add flare to a building by adding more variety to a design.

Can you create an open panel (with no material) in a curtain wall system?

It is not possible to delete a panel, but it is possible to change the type to an Empty System Panel, which is a panel type that lacks a material.

Placing Doors in Curtain Systems

Do curtain wall door panels behave like standard door types? Can you change the orientation or swing direction using standard door editing techniques? Do they appear in door schedules?

Yes. Once placed, doors in curtain walls act as any other door. They appear in schedules and their orientation and swing can be changed. However, you cannot drag them into another location like a typical door. Instead, to relocate a door, a new panel must be created and changed into a curtain wall door panel type.

What other types of operable panels would be useful in a curtain wall? For ventilation? For shading?

Besides doors, curtain walls can include windows or sun shading devices.