Curtain wall

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A curtain wall , including curtain wall , called ( English curtain wall , curtain wall ' ) is a construction method for facades of buildings .

The curtain wall forms the outer shell of the building and stands as a separate shell in front of the actual supporting structure . It usually runs across the floors. Since it only bears its own weight and no other static loads on the building, it can be designed as a lightweight construction .

The curtain wall is attached to or suspended from the supporting structure of the building by means of a substructure. The cross-storey facade usually has a frame construction made of steel or aluminum profiles, which is filled in over a large area with glass or other flat filling elements. A curtain wall can be implemented as a mullion-transom facade or as a unitized facade . If the glass panes are mainly attached to the substructure by gluing, one speaks of a structural glazing facade . The curtain wall is often installed on buildings in a frame construction .

In contrast to the curtain wall , a rear-ventilated curtain wall (VHS; English rainscreen , rain protection ) only protects against sun, rain and snow, but is not airtight and is usually not designed as an independent load-bearing shell.

Technology and standardization

Logo of the German Institute for Standardization DIN EN 13830
Area building technology
title Curtain walls - product standard
Latest edition 2003-11

Curtain walls are standardized in the European standard EN 13830. The standard is published in Germany as a DIN standard .


A curtain wall under construction
Steiff factory building in Giengen , built in 1903
Curtain wall at the Bauhaus Dessau after the reconstruction (1996–2006 / original facade destroyed in the war)
Curtain wall at the back of the Kant garage , 1930
The original curtain wall of the Kant garage today (photo 2007)

Incomplete list based on a specialist article by Miron Mislin in the glas-online portal.

Preconditions and precursors

  • Around 1832, the English glass manufacturer RL Chance improved the cylinder glass process. From 1838 he produced crystal mirror glass, in which the rolled glass could be polished and cut. The Crystal Palace in London was built with this crystal mirror glass in 1851 .
  • After the fire in Chicago in 1871 , the first large steel frame structures were developed in high-rise construction. This allowed the exterior facades to be designed more freely with windows and parapets.
  • 1885, the Home Insurance Building , presented William Le Baron Jenney the steel skeleton behind a thin, still outside stone wall, but the principle of the curtain wall was realized.
  • From 1891, the mirror glass process, which lowered the price of glass, proved to be beneficial for the construction of large windows.
  • In 1895, the Reliance Building was built by the architects Daniel Burnham & Root, a steel frame structure with a curtain wall with Chicago windows and thin terracotta panels on the parapets.
  • 1895, Studebaker Building , Arch. Solon S. Beman , ten-storey, cast-iron frame, panel balustrades made of cast iron and wide “Chicago Windows”.
  • 1899–1900, Mc Clurg Building , Arch. Holabird & Roche, nine-storey with a cast-iron frame.
  • 1899–1900, Tietz department store on Leipziger Strasse in Berlin, by B. Sehring and L. Lachmann with a window front of 20 m × 17.50 m, which can be considered the first curtain wall in Berlin.
  • 1906–1907 five production buildings of the A. Koppel railroad car company from Berlin had curtain wall facades at their new American branch near Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. The ribbon windows in the skylight area were run as continuous horizontal ribbon windows “around the corner”. ( American Machinist , October 19, 1907).

First examples and projects


Web links

Commons : Curtain walls  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Curtain Wall. In: Baunetzwissen , accessed on December 18, 2009.
  2. On the history of the curtain wall from 1890 to 1930 by Miron Mislin. In: , 3, 2009, p. 46.
  3. At the beginning of the 20th century, Margarete's nephew Richard designed new factory buildings. In: , accessed on February 4, 2010
  4. Anke Fissabre: The Steiff toy factory in Giengen . Geymüller Verlag, Aachen 2013, ISBN 978-3-943164-03-9 , pp. 6 .