Research

Designed for Performance: Research Methods in a Collaborative Studio Rethinking Modern Curtain Walls

From Research Journal Vol. 07.02 (Special Issue: Future of Architectural Research/ARCC 2015 Conference)

The growing demand for high-performance buildings has pushed the architectural discipline to confront building performance as an integral part of design delivery, while increasing the necessity of collaboration between designers, building science experts, engineers, and manufacturers to find the best solutions to building performance challenges. At Kansas State University, a year-long research studio worked with professionals, consultants, and a major manufacturer of window systems to rethink modern curtain wall systems. Three experimental systems developed during the studio are summarized in this article along with data and observations showing their relative successes and shortcomings versus a contemporary high-performing curtain wall system. This article elaborates on methods employed in the studio including computer-based analysis and in-situ testing of full scale prototypes with emphasis on determining and comparing apparent thermal resistance calculated from observations. Lastly, some discussion is presented regarding how these methods and techniques could contribute to practice.

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