Wood curtainwall is a growing trend and a result
of architects seeking new aesthetic possibilities
and alternative glazing material options.
Who Wood’ve Thought?
hile vinyl seeks its place in Plaza in Pittsburgh.
the commercial market, an- Gensler principal Ben Tranel, who 20-foot-mark, we have a horizontal
other alternative material worked on the architectural project structural member to kind of tie it back.”
has found a niche. team for PNC, says the wood design was Being in its infancy, the technology
feet. “Usually when we get to the 18- to
Wood curtainwall has gained traction “one of the main drivers with the client” poses unique challenges.
in North America over the last half- due to its “hospitable feel.” He says he
The fabrication process is complex,
decade, particularly in Northern regions can see wood curtainwall as a technol- requiring certain equipment and
methods of cutting, laminating, coat-
“We’ve looked at it in a number of ing and sealing. Solar has an entire
across the United States where the nat- ogy that could emerge in the future.
ural look of wood is popular.
Solar Innovations has responded to projects,” he says. “In some, we’ve ac- building dedicated to its wood prod-
demand with its “Timberwall.” Presi- tually taken it through bids and had ucts, as the processes are much dif-
dent Greg Header says the technology competitive prices. The results were fa- ferent than aluminum.
evolved simply out of desire from the ar- vorable … So I think that’s a real posi-
Header says wood curtainwall comes
at an approximate 30-percent premium
chitect and design community.
“Like any new technology,” he adds, compared to aluminum, though his
Six years ago, the company began re-
ceiving inquiries about wood curtainwall, “it will be applied to smaller projects company’s engineering team works
the first of which was an impact glazing and will get bigger from there.”
with clients to analyze U-value, cost ef-
project in New Jersey. At the time, there Header says the hospitality and of- ficiency and payback. Additionally, he
was no impact wood curtainwall on the fice markets provide big opportunity for believes cost will eventually go down as
market, but Solar Innovations designed, wood, as well as museums and restau- suppliers become more familiar with
manufactured and produced a system rants. “We’ve done residential and the types of wood required.
within six months to fit the bill.
commercial,” he says. “It’s really be-
Ultimately, Header thinks adoption
Since then, Header says interest in come mainstream because wood is a will grow with more education and fa-
the product rose, and the company very green, renewable resource with miliarity among the design community.
began marketing it. Solar recently com- very good thermal properties.”
pleted 30 stories of wood curtainwall Header says a typical wood curtain- tion,” he says. “It continues to gain trac-
for the interior of the new Tower at PNC wall wouldn’t go much higher than 24 tion every day.”
“It gives architects another great op-
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | April 2016