Library Parts 2: Curtain Wall Panel


Hello everyone,

Today we are going to continue the last post about creation of Library parts. In our previous post we learned how to create a frame and a cap of a Curtain Wall tool. In this post we will learn some particular tips about the creation of Curtain Wall Panels.

The process would be the same as before. We will model our Custom Panel first and then we will save it as a Library part > Curtain wall panel.

For the modelling process we can use any AC modelling tool we want to create the geometry that will become our Panel. In this simple case I just used slabs. But remember you could youse morph, handrail or even stairs for this purpose. The important steps are as follows:

1. Position: The panel should be modelled lying on the “horizontal plane” of the 3D window or on the “editing plane”. In our case the back of the panel or the part that will be the inside face of it should be on the 0,0 level of the horizontal plane of the 3D Window.

This is just to give AC the reference plane that will be use to insert the panel in the CW. Basically we must imagine that we are building our panel on the ground, which will be our horizontal plane or editing plane in 3d.

Regarding the orientation we need to imagine how our panel will look like standing vertical on the curtain wall. The vertical direction of our panel needs to be aligned with the “y” axis and the horizontal one will be aligned with the “x” axis of the origin of coordinates.

2. Dimensions: To ensure the proper dimensions of the panel we should remember that the panel is a “rectangular shape” which dimensions are “x” by “y”. If we intend that the size of our panel is 1(x) by 2(y) meter for example is better to make sure that the geometries we are modelling that will become the panel should have 1 meter (x) by 2 meters (y), so when it becomes a panel in our CW our geometries will not change or scale their dimensions.

In this example I am modelling my group of slabs and the dimensions of the group will be 1.2 meters wide (x) by 3 meters high (y). These are the dimensions I want the panel to have at the end.

Regarding the thickness of the panel, we must remember how thick (z) our group geometries are. This dimension will be inserted later on in our CW Panel settings. In our case the thickness of the whole panel will be 0.28 m deep (z).

3. Building Materials: All building materials of the elements we use to create the panel will be exactly the same in our CW. We will see it later.

Now we are going to save our panel. This process is the same as in our previous post. We will go File > Libraries and Objects > Save Selection as > Curtain Wall Panel. Then we will name our panel to save it in the Embedded Library.

Before the Panel is created we will be asked what we want to use as a reference reference plane. Remember what we said before, rather we model on the horizontal plane of the 3D window or we model on the editing plane. In this case I used the horizontal plane as a reference so that is what I chose.

Once the panel is saved let’s insert it in our CW. In our CW settings we go first to the Scheme of the CW.  Let’s make the Scheme have a regular grid of the dimensions we intended to our panel: 1.2 x 3 meters.

Then we go to the tab “Main panel”. There we need to chose in the Panel Type the one called “CW Custom Panel 21”. Then in the CW Panel Settings we chose the name of the panel we created “Curtain Wall Panel 1”.

Remember what I said about the thickness (z) of our group of geometries we used for the panel. In our case the group of slabs I used were o.28 meters all together. So now I have to input that dimension in the “Panel Thickness” tab. I also input it in the “Panel Offset” tab if I want the my panel to have the base aligned with the reference line of the CW. We will see it in the 3D window with a Cutting Plane activated.

Now what I do is to increase the size of the Mullions, Transoms and Boundaries of the CW so they become as thick as the Panel. Because now there is a gap in between the external part of my panel and the structure of the CW.

In the image the dimension “b” goes from 25 cm to 49. This means that from the reference line of the CW the profile will pop out 29 cm. This is 1 cm more than the total thickness of our panel. The reason is because we need to add half of the “w” value of the gap as you see on the image.

The result is that now our structure and panel of the CW match with more construction logic. It would be as if we created a short of shading plates that are hold in between the structure profiles of the CW.

In order to see the correct display in 2D we need just to go to the Floor Plan Display options and select “Projected with Overhead”.

In my particular opinion as I already mentioned before the Curtain Wall is a very powerful parametric tool that can give us a lot of outputs as Information, 3D visualisation, 2D representation in our drawings, etc.

Now that the connexion with Grasshopper is getting very advanced the possibilities of creation of CWs, structures and paneling are much more advanced in comparison with the standard CW. But still the simplicity of the Curtain Walls systems prevails in a majority of the Architecture projects. Therefor the CW tool still plays a great role in this type of constructions systems. It is fast, accurate and easy to use.

I hope you find this article useful.

Thank you for reading us!



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