Why glass curtain walls become popular for most modern buildings?

When we are fascinated by some grand high-rise buildings we might take our eyes off the bright glass curtain walls which bring a luxurious and exquisite atmosphere to the buildings.

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In modern urban buildings, glass curtain walls are gradually becoming the mainstream of aesthetics. Today we talk about the glass curtain walls and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of glass curtain walls.

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1.About the glass curtain wall

The origin of glass curtain walls is related to the progress of glass manufacture technology. In the early stage of human activities, residential windows, Gothic church construction and subsequent construction, plant garden greenhouses and commercial arcades, industrial buildings, large-scale popularization of office and office buildings, all these buildings are applied by the glass which enlightened the application of glass curtain wall.

The oldest recognized building which used glass curtain walls is the Hallidie Building in San Francisco, USA, designed by Willis Jefferson Polk and built in 1918. It uses a reinforced concrete structure with a glass curtain wall hanging 3 feet from the axis of the external wall.

The building has all the characteristics of modern architectural curtain walls: a structural system with glass panels and supporting glass panels, relatively deformable with the main structure, and does not bear the effects of the main structure.

The first glass curtain wall project in China appeared on the facade of the Canton Fair Exhibition Hall in 1981, which has the characteristics of modern glass curtain walls and can be the beginning of the era of glass curtain walls in China.

The glass curtain wall in modern buildings uses a combination of mirror glass and ordinary glass, and insulating glass filled with dry air or inert gas. Insulating glass is good at sound insulation, heat insulation, frost prevention, moisture resistance, increased lighting, and high wind pressure resistance. However, there is also some weakness such as light pollution and high energy consumption.

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There are three types of glass curtain walls

The exposed frame supported glass curtain wall is a type of glass curtain with exposed metal framework components. It is framed with aluminum alloy profiles with special cross-sections, and the glass panels are fully embedded in the grooves of the profiles. The exposed frame glass curtain wall is the most traditional form, the most widely used and reliable working performance.

Compared with the hidden frame glass curtain wall, it is easier to meet the requirements of the construction technology level.

Another one is hidden frame glass curtain wall whose metal frame is hidden behind the glass, leading to the invisible metal frame from outside.

Hidden frame glass curtain wall can be divided into two types: fully hidden frame glass curtain wall and semi-hidden frame glass curtain wall. The semi-hidden frame glass curtain wall can be horizontally bright and vertical, or vertical bright and horizontally hidden.

The structural feature of the hidden frame glass curtain wall is: the glass is outside the aluminum frame, and the glass and the aluminum frame are bonded with silicone structural sealant. The load of the curtain wall is mainly borne by the sealant.

The point glass curtain wall is a glass curtain wall composed of glass panels, point supporting devices, and supporting structures.

The point glass curtain wall has the stability of steel structure, the lightness of glass, and the precision of machinery.

Compared with the general glass curtain wall, the point-type glass curtain wall is not in the frame but in the supporting system. 

The glass panel on the point-type glass curtain wall is connected to the supporting structure through only a few points, which is almost unobstructed, and the field of view is maximized. The transparency of the glass is applied to the limit. Therefore, white glass with no light pollution should be used in the use of glass. Ultra-white glass and Low-E glass, especially the use of insulating glass, the energy-saving effect is more obvious. However, this kind of glass curtain wall has no opening fan.

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(1) Advantages

The glass curtain wall is famous as a new type of contemporary wall. The biggest characteristic of the glass curtain wall is it can organically unify the architectural aesthetics, architectural functions, building energy efficiency, and building structure. The building with a glass curtain wall can present different tones from different angles, which follow the sunlight.

The reflective insulating glass is 6mm thick, and the wall weight is about 50kg/㎡. It has the advantages of light and beautiful, not easy to pollute, and energy saving. Trace metal elements are added to the float glass composition, and it is tempered to make color transparent plate glass, which can absorb infrared rays by reducing the solar radiation enter the room.

(2) Disavantages

There are some limitations on the glass curtain wall , such as light pollution and high energy consumption. However, with the development of technology, the materials used for glass curtain walls in buildings can have a better solution in the light pollution and energy consumption problems.


In conclusion, glass curtain walls are widely used for many modern buildings. This product not only decorates the exterior wall of buildings and but also brings many practical function . More and more modern architecture inclines to apply this curtain wall ! What is more ,there are many quality suppliers of glass curtain walls on BuildMost. Don’t hesitate, contact us now!

If you have any questions or requirements, you can contact us, or click “”on the right side of this page to contact our online service.
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