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Facade Design

Glass point fixture facade is one of the most popular modern expressions of new generation architectural art. It encompasses a discipline of structural engineering, an eye for artistic space and light representation as well as a deep understanding for logistical functionalities for the inhabitants of the building. In this section we examine in simple generic terms  the most common practices of glass facade systems practiced to date.

Metal Frame Façade

Metal frame facades are fixtures of glass spider fittings fitted directly onto Metal frame trusses.  These trusses may be vertical or horizontal but are consistent throughout the span of the glass facade design. These trusses again may or may not support the structural roof, but are always strong enough to carry, by themselves, the dead load exerted by the glass as well as the expected wind loads.

The metal frame system is one of the cheapest and easiest to design due to it's simple geometry and mass use of concrete or steel frame. However, the design drawback is in its visual transparency interrupted by the existing metal frame profiles and often creates a heavy visual effect for the inhabitants.

Facade 1
Facade 3
  facade 2                                   
Rod System

A rod system facade uses a space frame structure principle to dissipate the loads throughout the glass facade. Its construction and design can vary from using light rods with multiple support layers, to simple, single layer with large rod. This gives architects a multitude of visual effects from very transparent to very heavy and a strong feeling to match with interior design themes.

The facade span can be continuous with no metal truss interruptions and in some cases the metal frame can be avoided completely by attaching the rod frame support directly to adjacent walls or roof and ceiling. The biggest disadvantage for this design are its costly construction and preparation of individual rods and rod joiners

Rod system
Rod system2

Axil System Facade

Tri-axils systems are the newest breed of glass facade design facing the new millennium.  It changes the traditional vertical or horizontal flat wall-like structure to a new, multi-formed, free shape design.

The facade is free to perform a concave or spherical articulation by a clever system of multi-layered, tensioned cables.  The result is a visually stunning, structurally strong masterpiece of modern art. As with all complex cable form facade designs, the disadvantages are in it's engineering cost, but to many the rewards are spectacular.

Cable Truss Facade

Cable truss systems cleverly utilize the unique cable properties of being flexible and its exceptional tensile strength to mass ratio. This is especially ideal when the facade design is very tall. Cables are tensioned to create sub-trusses with minimal visual obstruction. The result is a cost effective, easy-to-maintain facade construction that retains minimal vertical trusses.  The disadvantage of a cable system is primarily its engineering complexity relative to the other systems. It needs to work solely on a tension design whereas rod and metal frame systems may use both tension and compression. Thus small facade design would tend to avoid this higher cost of engineering.

Cable truss facade


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