Curtain Wall Design & Construction 

ARCH 576 | Spring Semester
Associate Professor Scott Murray


This seminar takes a materials-based approach to explore in-depth the processes of design and construction of building envelopes, with an emphasis on the theories and technologies behind leading-edge curtain wall systems.  Students who successfully complete the course gain knowledge necessary to address a broad range of aesthetic and technical issues encompassed by curtain wall design in contemporary practice.  

Topics of study include:  the history of curtain walls; curtain wall typologies; technical and aesthetic performance; energy efficiency and sustainable strategies; glass, metals and other materials; and prefabrication methodologies.

The course is organized into three phases: (1) readings, lectures and discussion on fundamental concepts in curtain wall design; (2) Case Study Research Project; and (3) Final Design Project.  In the Case Study Project, student teams independently research, analyze, and document the curtain wall system of a recent significant building. The course culminates with the Final Design Project in which each student develops and details a curtain wall system of his or her own design, documented in drawings and models.