An Architect’s Guide to Glass Façade

Skyscrapers in modern cities, whether residential or commercial, tend to glamorize themselves by way of the owner’s stylistic choices. Today, one of the most preferred ways to instantly enhance the style quotient of a tall building is a glass façade. Apart from lending a contemporary yet open look to a modern-day building, glass façades also offer sound and heat-insulation, making them a favourite of architects. Bespoke cladding, challenging geometrical designs, and striking outlooks of glass facades ensure protection against irregular winds and seismic conditions as well. As an architect, you might be loosely familiar with the basics of a façade. To enrich you more, here is a valuable guide about the intricacies of glass facades.

Types of Glass Facades

Curtain Wall

Curtain walls are non-load bearing curtain-like structures attached to the floor of the building in which the façade is to be incorporated. Such facades have to support only their weight and not the dead load weight imposed by the building. Connections exist between the curtain wall and the building’s columns and floors so that the weight of the wind can be transferred from the façade. These types of facades are both aesthetically pleasing and exceedingly functional, providing resistance to wind and water infiltration. Resistance to seismic forces and a thermal barrier is also provided by such glass facades.

Curtain walls can be customised according to the need of the building and the design choice of the client. It can take the form of many interesting patterns and styles.

Storefront Wall

This is another non-load bearing façade type designed primarily for ground floors. It spans between the ground and the roof of the building above it and offers optimal thermal and sound insulation when constructed using specialised glasses. It is a cost-effective option and can be customised according to the client’s desires.

Framing Systems

Stick Systems

Vertical support mullions form the frames for these types of glass facades. These extrusions are usually entirely constructed away from the site of installation. Later, the mullions are taken to the location of construction and glass panels are fit into them. Typically, the vertical extrusions are also supported by horizontal frames, which in turn, make the glass-framed from all sides.

Usually, the mullions used in the stick systems are made using materials like aluminium, steel, concrete, or wood. Depending on the stylistic choice, any of these materials can be used. Structured silicone, toggle-locked, bolted, or pressure-capped stick systems are installed in mid-rise or low-rise buildings because of their high costs.

Unitized System

As the name suggests, such glass facades are usually made in the factory and then carried to the site of installation. This essentially means that unitized systems come ready to be installed at the building. The continuous system can span multiple floors in tall buildings. Vents and windows can also be installed in unitized-framed facades. Since the entire framing system is constructed in a factory with controlled climatic conditions, features like moisture and air-resistance can easily be incorporated into them. Mobile street cranes, tower cranes, or monorails are usually used to carry the completed systems to the site.

Semi-Unitized Systems

Semi-unitized systems consist of the best of both stick systems and unitized systems. Glass facades of this type are encased in a stick made metal cassettes. The glass is in-filled in the cassettes at the factory. The individual cassettes are later carried to the site of construction and are assembled with other cassettes on-site. The bonding of one metal case with another happens with gaskets, making the assembly and installation both fast and safe. These types of systems require the application of structural silicone during the installation process.

Building Performance

The purpose behind the installation of glass facades is not merely their aesthetic value. Glass facades can add other features to the building.

Regulated Energy Consumption

To make a building more energy-efficient, the kind of glass used for a façade should be selected carefully. Energy-efficient glass made by AIS Glass is a good choice. While providing optimal insulation, energy-efficient glass also maximises the amount of light entering the building. Building-integrated photovoltaic can also be used to preserve energy.


High-quality acoustic glass can be used in construction where a quiet environment is desired. Sound Transmission Class and Outdoor Indoor transmission class indices can be used to evaluate the acoustic performance of buildings with glass facades.


While getting glass facades, security is often the primary concern. The best way to ensure safety is using toughened glass like AIS Stronglas or similar solutions with multipoint locking systems. Additional security measures can also be taken in framing or installation.

At AIS Glass, we manufacture high-quality glasses meant to create contemporary, stylish, and pragmatic facades for modern buildings. We have all kinds of glass solutions available and can customise different glass types according to your needs. Contact us today to enjoy a wide range of interior and exterior glass solutions!

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