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Many matters must be considered in the design of windows and curtain walls, but those of concern here are the design considerations affecting performance. Both windows and walls have the same basic function of contributing to the control of the interior environment, and serving, in effect, as a filtering system.
The two major design considerations applying to both windows and walls are structural integrity and weathertightness. In the design of curtain walls a third major consideration is ample provision for movement. Structurally, wind loading is the chief concern, and the need for stiffness, rather than strength, usually governs. Both weathertightness and provision for movement are largely dependent on proper joint design.
Other important design considerations affecting performance are moisture control, thermal insulation, control of sound transmission, and firestopping. As compared with the frequent evaluation of structural integrity and weathertightness by specially developed test methods, these characteristics, however, have only rarely been tested.
windows, curtain walls, design, performance, wind pressure, sealers, thermal insulation, moisture, leakage, filtration, movement, test methods
Architectural consultant, Basking Ridge, N.J.