Facades have the ability to transform how we see architectural spaces and, in recent decades, glazed curtain walling systems have become increasingly popular – on commercial and residential buildings alike.
Enclosing the envelope of the building, there are two main types of curtain walling: stick and unitised facades. These can be adapted from their standard design to create bespoke features which are engineered to emphasise geometry or a particular aesthetic appearance. As a result, curtain wall systems equip architects with the freedom to create an aesthetically led façade that meets the specific performance requirements of the building.
Cover image: Hadrians Tower. © Hufton + Crow
Spanning multiple floors and covering a large surface of the building, curtain wall forms a significant part of the envelope. As such, systems can directly impact key performance considerations, including water tightness and thermal characteristics, daylighting, ventilation regimes and acoustics. Another fundamental part in selecting the correct curtain wall is the accommodation of building movement. The taller a building gets, the more movement can be expected, creating the potential for a range of building movements such as windsway, inter-storey drift, differential slab deflections, settlement, creep and even seismic loads. Although some types of movement are more typical outside the UK, it is important for every aspect of the building envelope to be designed to accommodate such movements.
Acoustics is another area where curtain wall systems have a part to play. As urban areas become increasingly populated, controlling noise levels within a building increases comfort for occupants. Curtain walling can reduce noise concerns such as flanking sound transmission, which is particularly relevant for multiple-occupancy buildings. Accommodating the large glass thicknesses and glass weights associated with acoustic glazing, alongside the inclusion of profiles that stop direct transmission, Reynaers curtain wall can directly support acoustic performance.
The systems’ test data speaks for itself, with each different curtain wall type offering varying levels of performance, depending on characteristics like profile design, gaskets and openings. CW 50, for example – the leading curtain wall system from Reynaers – offers all-around performance having passed CWCT Sequence B testing, providing independent accreditation. Different technical variants can also accommodate specific fire resistance requirements where needed
While the technical performance of curtain walling is a primary consideration for those specifying systems, there is one clear benefit to including them in a building’s design – aesthetics. As a fast and cost-effective way of introducing large volumes of glazing into a building, these systems hold the potential to define a building’s appearance.
For occupants, the benefits are clear to see. Large and often full height windows flood rooms with natural light, making spaces more comfortable, practical and modern. Alongside the positive impact this can have on wellbeing, curtain wall systems can introduce greater connections between inside and outside spaces and maximise views, further elevating the appeal of buildings for occupants. From the outside, curtain walling equips buildings with a distinctive appearance which defines their unique character. To achieve this, it is crucial for architects to specify systems which facilitate creative freedom, without compromising the performance benefits required.
Ensuring correct specification
To unlock the full suite of benefits that are made possible through curtain walling, it is crucial to work closely with suppliers and collaborate with design teams from the very outset of a project. Particularly on large scale projects, such as high-rise buildings where curtain walling is most in-demand, this approach ensures success.
It is for this reason that Reynaers encourages direct collaboration with its partners. Through its Consult programme, in-house specialist consultants, engineers and technicians work closely with architects and building professionals to offer technical assistance. This close collaboration facilitates a deeper understanding of a project’s specific requirements and allows for the correct systems to be specified, including bespoke systems which are tailor-made to meet the specific demands of a project.
Complementing this hands-on approach to working with our partners, Reynaers offers a broad selection of profiles and tested systems and has the capability to test systems in-house, ensuring every system performs as required.
By working together with partners throughout the supply chain, architects and building professionals can lean on the expertise of the wider supply chain and bring their visions to life with glazed curtain wall systems, while weaving uncompromising performance and quality into the fabric of their buildings.
CASE STUDY 1: ALUMINIUM SYSTEMS FROM REYNAERS FRAME ICONIC VIEWS AT ONE TOWER BRIDGE
Multiple product solutions from leading aluminium systems company Reynaers have been installed at Berkeley Homes’ development at the foot of London’s landmark Tower Bridge.
Nine apartment blocks form the structure of One Tower Bridge, offering residents a vast swimming pool and luxury spa, as well as a state-of-the-art gymnasium, business lounge and virtual golf facility. With wide pedestrian boulevards that take visitors through landscaped communal gardens, retail outlets and restaurants, the development is at once a self-contained community and a well-connected location in the very heart of London.
Reynaers’ aluminium glazing systems have been applied across seven of the nine apartment blocks, selected for their ability to meet the look, feel and quality required by the architects at Squire and Partners.
Curtain walling systems were supplied by Reynaers for One Tower Bridge, which comprise of extensive runs of CW 60 and CW 50 uncapped curtain walling.
Bespoke solutions for a non-90 degree open-corner patio and a 2-track running into a 3-track patio were developed especially for this project.
Most apartments boast balconies or terraces, which are completed with a total of more than 300 large CP 130 and CP 155 lift-and-slide doors. Three-chamber CS 68 and CS 77 windows and doors were also installed throughout the development.
John McComb, Technical Director at Reynaers, said: “One Tower Bridge demanded a superior suite of products that would provide excellent acoustic performance given its bustling location, as well as market-leading security and weather performance given the height of the apartment blocks.
“The build also required a design that looked spectacular, complementing the highspecification décor of the apartments and offering unparalleled views of its enviable location. The systems chosen allow residents to have panoramic views over London, without compromising on insulation or ease of operation.”
Recognised by Sunday Times’ British Homes Awards as Best Interior Design and Large Development of the Year, the development has now been completed alongside planning consultant Barton Willmore, structural engineer Meinhardt and fabricators M Price Limited, Prater Ltd and Scheldebouw.
CASE STUDY: THE CURTAIN, LONDON: MODERN TECHNOLOGY RESPECTS HERITAGE WHILE IMPROVING THERMAL EFFICIENCY
DISCOVER SLIM LINE WINDOWS, SLIDING PATIO DOORS AND CURTAIN WALLING FROM REYNAERS ALUMINIUM.
The Curtain is a beautiful industrial jewel located on the site of a former 1970s office block. Leading aluminium systems company Reynaers has helped to develop this complete new building into a beautiful industrial jewel.
Situated in the heart of Shoreditch, The Curtain boasts nine storeys, which encompass three glamorous restaurants, four bars and a hotel, as well as a private members’ club. Its unusual name hails from the street where it is located.
Architects Dexter Moren Associates drew inspiration from the area’s 19th-century warehouse heritage and Reynaers’ aluminium windows and doors have helped create the look perfectly.
Lead architect Zoe Tallon scooped the prestigious Creative Spark Award for her work on the ambitious project. The award recognises the best-designed new hotel and is voted by delegates of the TOPHOTELPROJECTS World Tour London, comprising a wide selection of influential industry peers including fellow architects, hoteliers, investors, interior designers, suppliers and the media.
Hotelier Michael Achenbaum wanted his high-profile restaurants, hotel and members club to reflect the area’s architectural tradition, industrial history and creativity.
The facade consists of red brick and features Reynaers’ CS 38 slimline windows, CP 130 sliding patio doors and CW 50 curtain walling.
The next generation of CS 38 is now available from Reynaers – Slim Line 38 (SL 38) is a highly insulated inward and outward opening aluminium window and door system, that combines elegance and comfort with a unique design. The special slender steel look offers the perfect windows and doors for modern architecture and the renovation of steel frames, respecting the original design but offering a thermally improved solution.
Large-framed slimline windows complement the industrial aesthetic and give the building a unique character and identity of its own. The fabricator on the project was AWS Turner Fain Ltd, part of AWS Group.
The Curtain incorporates a live music venue, a state-of-the-art gym, spa area with treatment and steam rooms, ballroom, pop-up barbershop, screening room, co-working space and a 1,600ft2 rooftop terrace with a restaurant bar. There is also a Moroccan-style heated pool offering stunning views across the city skyline.
Case Study 3: CAMLEY STREET, LONDON: REYNAERS ACHIEVES MAXIMUM COMFORT AND SAFETY FOR NEW LONDON HOMES
HIGH INSULATED ALUMINIUM WINDOWS AND SLIDING PATIO DOORS FROM REYNAERS ALUMINIUM
Camley Street, London: Reynaers achieves maximum comfort and safety for new London homes Nestled in the exciting Kings Cross district of London, Onyx Apartments offers residents the best of everything: comfort, ideal location, unmatched views and an array of restaurants, shops, parks and galleries. Working closely with developer Taylor Wimpey, contractor United Living and Cross Border partner Skonto Plan, Reynaers has ensured residents receive the highest level of thermal insulation and safety.
Onyx Apartments is an 11-storey building that offers 117 bespoke homes with one, two and three-bedroom options. Comfort and safety were two top priorities in bringing this project to life and Reynaers was brought on board to achieve those aims.
The CS 86 ‘High Insulated’ (HI) aluminium window was specified, as it offers an overall insulation value (Uf) of 1.0 W/m²K, making it one of the most energy-efficient windows on the market. RB Glass was also used, an add-on glass balustrade that offers an additional layer of security without compromising the transparency and design of the windows. To further enhance the insulation level of the apartments, Reynaers’ CP 155 ‘Lift and Slide’ (LS) aluminium door was specified to create maximum glazed areas while also maintaining comfort.
Commenting on the development, Neil Garner, Reynaers’ International Project Consultant said: “At Reynaers, our mission is to enhance the living and working environment. I believe we achieved that at Onyx Apartments through the comfort and security that our doors and windows offer the new residents.”
This article was originally published in IGS Magazines Winter 2021 Issue: Read the full Magazine here for more thought-leadership from those spearheading the industry
John has been at Reynaers for over 24 years. Involved in countless panel discussions over the years, including the recent Glazing Summit Sustainability panel, he is recognised as a true industry expert in the world of fenestration. John breathes Reynaers core values of respect, excellence, innovation and loyalty into large scale projects across the UK including the BBC Building, One Tower Bridge, and the Wembley Quintain Development.