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Curtain Wall Vs Window Wall: What Is The Difference?
18 Jul, 2023

Curtain Wall Vs Window Wall: What Is The Difference?

As buildings become more complex and aesthetically diverse, architects and engineers seek innovative solutions to meet both functional and design requirements. Two popular options for building facades are curtain walls and window walls. While they serve similar purposes, there are fundamental differences between these two systems. However, what are the differences between them?

What Is A Curtain Wall?

A curtain wall is an external building envelope system made of lightweight materials such as glass, aluminum, or steel. It is a non-structural component that hangs or is suspended from the building's structure, creating a protective barrier against the elements. Curtain walls are built to endure wind loads, seismic forces, and temperature differentials without jeopardizing the structural integrity of the structure.

Aluminum Extrusion Curtain Wall

Aluminum Extrusion Curtain Wall

What Is A Window Wall?

A window wall is a building envelope system that combines the structural properties of a conventional wall with the transparency of a curtain wall. Window walls, as opposed to curtain walls, are often attached to the building's structure and bear some of the vertical stresses. They are made up of big glass panels linked together by metal frames.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Between Curtain Walls And Window Walls

Building Type and Height: The type and height of the building play a crucial role in determining the most suitable system. Because of their greater structural performance, curtain walls are generally required in high-rise structures, but window walls can help mid-rise and low-rise buildings.

Design Objectives: Consider the design objectives and architectural vision for the project. If maximizing natural light and views is a priority, window walls may be the preferred choice. Curtain walls provide for greater design flexibility and the possibility of outstanding aesthetic effects in buildings with various architectural styles.

Structural Considerations: Evaluate the structural capacity of the building and the desired load-bearing capabilities. Curtain walls are non-structural elements that hang or are suspended from the building's structure, while window walls provide partial structural support. Ascertain that the chosen system complies with the structural requirements of the building and local building codes.

Budget: The project budget is an essential factor to consider. Curtain walls typically involve higher upfront costs due to their complex installation and additional materials, while window walls can offer a more cost-effective solution, particularly for mid-rise buildings. When evaluating the whole budget, consider both the upfront charges and the long-term maintenance expenses.

Unitized Curtain Wall System Manufacturers

Unitized Curtain Wall System Manufacturers

Energy Efficiency: Assess the energy performance goals of the building. Both curtain walls and window walls can be designed to be energy-efficient by incorporating high-performance glazing, thermal breaks, and insulation. Evaluate the desired level of energy efficiency and choose a system that aligns with those objectives.

Aesthetics: Consider the desired aesthetic appearance and architectural style. Curtain walls offer design flexibility and can accommodate various shapes, colors, and textures, allowing for unique and visually striking facades. Window walls create a clean, modern look while seamlessly integrating with the building's structural structure. Select the system that compliments the overall design objective and intended aesthetics the best.

Maintenance and Longevity: Assess the maintenance requirements and durability of the system. Both curtain walls and window walls generally require minimal maintenance. When choosing a system, consider issues such as simplicity of cleaning, accessibility for repairs, and long-term performance.

Local Climate and Environmental Factors: Take into account the local climate and environmental conditions. Curtain walls are designed to withstand wind loads, rain, and temperature differentials. Window walls can offer benefits such as natural ventilation and solar heat gain. Consider how each system will operate in the given environment and how it will contribute to the project's sustainability goals.

China Aluminium Curtain Wall

China Aluminium Curtain Wall


Comparing Performance: Window Wall System vs Curtain Wall

When evaluating the performance of window wall systems versus curtain walls, it's crucial to delve into the specifics of thermal performance, acoustic insulation, and long-term durability. Window wall systems typically allow for more direct integration with the building's slab, potentially offering better acoustic performance due to the separation between floors. On the other hand, curtain walls offer a continuous, unitized facade that can provide superior thermal performance due to the consistent insulation and fewer thermal bridges.

Both systems can be engineered to provide excellent longevity, but the maintenance and potential for future upgrades should be considered. Curtain walls might be more challenging to modify or upgrade due to their unitized nature, while window walls could offer more straightforward individual panel replacement options. When it comes to performance, the choice between a window wall and a curtain wall will largely depend on the specific needs and constraints of your building project.


Curtain walls and window walls are two distinct building envelope systems with their own set of features, benefits, and applications. For those in search of high-quality facade solutions, whether it be a curtain wall or window wall,XIANGZHEN offers a range of products tailored to meet your project's specific needs. Explore the possibilities with XIANGZHEN's expertly crafted systems and elevate the aesthetic and functional quality of your building. Visit XIANGZHEN today to find the perfect match for your architectural vision.

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