Through our work, we see the term “window wall” popping up more and more, typically used generically referring to a large section of horizontal glazing installed between building slabs. This simple term has a broad reach, and actually can convey a multitude of products and possible configurations. With little consensus, it is important for project teams to consider: What is a window wall, and what do I need to know for my project?
I recently published an article in Construction Specifier magazine with my SGH colleagues, Brian Rose and Brad Carpenter, that explores these questions. In “Window Walls: Blurring the Line between Glazing Products,” we compare three glazing product types – windows, storefronts, and curtain walls – and the distinctions they have in window wall applications. We also explore the subtleties of each system’s performance, detailing, fabrication, and installation in window wall applications to help designers, owners, and contractors balance constructability, schedule, and cost. Ultimately, it is important for project teams to agree early on about the type of glazing system used for window walls and understand the implications of switching between product types should it become necessary or desired later in the project design, bid, or construction phases. This helps set reasonable performance expectations at the start of a project, laying the groundwork for future success.