April 9, 2010

Curtain Walls - Medieval History, Current Revit Practices

Quite often my kids teach me new things, like what a “silly band” is OR that moms really should have long hair...Yesterday I learned new information about curtain walls. Thought I would share this info for those who think it’s all about the glass.

Description of the Curtain Wall
The Curtain was an outer wall which surrounded the bailey (Motte and Bailey castles) or Medieval castle buildings. The purpose of the curtain wall was to protect the interior of the castle. The wall was often connected by flanking towers which could house castle defenders. Sometimes arrow slits were a feature of the curtain wall enabling castle defenders to safely shoot at any attackers. Built for defence the curtain wall varied in size from 6 - 20 feet thick, up to 45 feet high and up to 1,500 feet long!

History of the Curtain Wall
The curtain wall was one of the most important forms of defence and, as such, its history dates back to the Hillforts of the Iron and Bronze Ages. The early curtain walls were made of heavy timbers and were originally called Palisades. The wooden curtain wall was a feature of the Motte and Bailey Castles which were built by the Normans. The wooden wall was subject to rot when built on an earth base and could be destroyed by fire. The wooden walls were therefore replaced by stone curtain walls. Crenellations (battlements) were added to Medieval curtain walls which provided a fighting platform and good vantage point from which soldiers launched arrows. The Crenellations also provided defenders with a solid defence to hide behind when they were not launching arrows from the gaps in between the stone battlements. Attackers would scale the curtain wall and scaling ladders had hooks designed to fit over the crenels.

Origin, Meaning of the word 'Curtain Wall'
The Origin and Meaning of the word 'Curtain' wall derives from the Latin words 'cortina and curtian' meaning a court or enclosure surrounded by walls.

The Curtain Wall
The Curtain Wall was introduced in England in the Iron and Bronze Age Hillforts. It was included in the designs of Norman and Plantagenet castles during the Medieval period 1066 - 1485. The old Medieval Castles were a symbol of wealth and power and were often the centre of historic battles and Medieval sieges. These great old castles were built for Medieval warfare and defence and new parts of the castle were designed accordingly and the curtain walls grew higher and thicker! This section of 'Castles' provides interesting facts and information about the many different parts of Castles! The Curtain Wall was an essential Castle part for as a form of defence against intruders.

Excerpted from http://www.castles.me.uk/curtain-wall.htm

Interested in learning more about Revit Curtain Walls?

April 14, Sacramento
Join Ideate and special guest Gregory Jones from LPAS Architecture and Design. Gregory will review the process used in the California Lottery Headquarters project, the pitfalls LPAS ran into and some of the workarounds and lessons learned from the whole experience. Registration link here.

April 23, Portland
Ideate will host a Revit Curtain Wall panel at the Portland Revit User Group, with special guests Celeste Warren from YGH Architects and Russell Holzinger of SERA Architects who will provide overviews of specific projects their firms have completed using Revit Curtain Walls. The session will include a panel discussion featuring Celeste, Russell, Eric Miller from BOORA Architects and Amy Hensley, Designer representing Benson Industries, the curtain wall manufacturer currently working with SERA Architects on the Edith Green project. Registration link here.

Submitted by Glynnis Patterson, N.C.A.R.B. – Director of Services
Glynnis is a Registered Architect and has worked within the BIM industry since 1998. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, she has worked as an architect, educator and construction site manager. Glynnis is currently the Director of Development Services at Ideate, Inc. and continues to work with AEC clients across the nation, developing, and implementing best practices solutions. In her spare time Glynnis is a member of the Morristown Environmental Commission and builds Legos.

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