Building Design

Mastering ArchiCAD's Curtain Wall Accessory and Junction Placement Tools

17 Aug, 2009 By: Attila Major

ArchiCAD Insights Tutorial: Use Curtain Wall features to model and modify an entire structure and its subcomponents.


Editor's Note: This tutorial courtesy of Graphisoft.

In this article, we continue discovering the new Curtain Wall tool in Graphisoft ArchiCAD v12. The flexible system allows easy modeling and modification of the entire structure and its subcomponents. Architects can be really productive when working with such elements. In comparison with other construction elements, a higher level of editing freedom is provided.

A Curtain Wall Accessory is an optional non–load-bearing member — such as a sun shade, a decoration strip, or a canopy — attached to the Curtain Wall at any Frame. This connection is associative, which means that if you drag the Frame, the Accessory will follow it; likewise, if you delete it, the connected Accessory will be removed. In ArchiCAD, accessories can be placed one by one only in Curtain Wall Edit mode using the Accessory Tool. An Accessory is a GDL object, but part of the System. Its geometry and display attributes are all determined by its GDL parameters, which you can find in the parameter list of the Accessory Type tab page.


Draw sunshade on the horizontal Frames.

A Curtain Wall Junction is an optional structure that serves to connect panels to each other in order to support Frames. Junction is a GDL object. Junctions can be placed either one by one or automatically. The placed Junctions are linked to the settings defined in the Junctions page of Curtain Wall Settings. The One by One option is applied, which means that no Junctions will be placed automatically. But you can place them one by one manually using the Junction Tool.


Select Junction type and choose At All Gridpoints for Member placement.

You can freely rotate a selected Curtain Wall. Select the Curtain Wall in 3D and use the Free Rotate command from the Pet Palette. First click and drag the cursor to define a line as the rotation axis. Then click to define the point from which you wish to begin rotating, and then click to complete.


Freely rotate a selected Curtain Wall by selecting the Curtain Wall in 3D and using the Free Rotate command from the Pet Palette. The red dotted polygon overlaid on the rotated Curtain Wall indicates the contour of the original.

Let's see how we can create a unique facade similar to the office building on the ArchiCAD v12 brochure pictured below. First, set the secondary gridline angle to 45 degrees. Then select the Curtain Wall in 3D, enter Edit Mode, rotate the grid system 22.5 degrees, and move one of the grid hotspots to middle of the bottom side Boundary. This will be the basic (Scheme) of the grid texture. Of course, if you would like to, you can freely stretch the Boundaries of the Curtain Wall or rotate its plane.


To create a unique facade using ArchiCAD v12, first set the secondary gridline angle to 45 degrees.


Set the angle of the secondary gridlines and rotate to the Grid System on the model in 3D. Next, adjust the Grid System to achieve the final Curtain Wall "texture."


About the Author: Attila Major


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