Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding curtain walls, part of Revit 2018: Essential Training for Architecture (Imperial).
- [Voiceover] There are three wall system families in Revit, the basic wall, the stacked wall, and the curtain wall. Basic wall, you may recall, is a series of layers that are sandwiched together and if you look at that wall in any direction, it's the same collection of layers, the same structure throughout. The Stacked wall takes two or more of those basic walls and just simply stacks them on top of one another in the vertical direction. The curtain wall is the most complex of the three Wall families. It can have a series of grids across both it's horizontal and vertical directions and then express those grids using mullions, panels, and creating a complex pattern structure within the mass of the curtain wall.
So in this movie, we're going to look at type driven curtain walls and understand the way that we can create a curtain wall type that will set up a regular spacing, and then in a future movie, we'll look at doing a series of grids and mullions manually. So to explore the type driven curtain walls, I'm going to go to the Wall command and keep in mind that a curtain wall is just one of your three wall families so you're going to use the Wall command to actually draw one.
And what I'm going to do is find the Curtain Wall family here and notice there are three types. Now these three types were just in the template that we started this project with. When you work with curtain walls, you can actually duplicate and create additional types, so in your projects, you may have more choices. I'm going to choose a Storefront because, of the three that are listed there, it's the most complex. Now, I'm going to work off to the side, outside the building, for the time being, and I'm just going to draw out a small length of curtain wall. I'm about 24 feet there.
And I'm going to click my Modify tool to cancel the command, and then do my zoom in region here to zoom in and take a look at that curtain wall. And the first thing that you'll notice is that there's some complexity along the length of this curtain wall and there's a repetition going on. So if I move my mouse nearby the curtain wall, what you'll find is, you can highlight the curtain wall itself with this long dashed line that goes down the middle. Now notice that dashed line has these two little shorter dashed lines capping the ends. It's kind of this elongated eye shape.
If you click that, that's the curtain wall itself. And like any other wall, it will have a Base Constraint, a Top Constraint, Base Offset, Top Offset, so you'll have instance properties here. If you deselect the curtain wall, kind of move your mouse in the general vicinity, notice that you can also highlight the individual parts and pieces that make up the curtain wall. So here, I have a curtain wall mullion. And down here, I also have a curtain wall mullion. And then right here, I'm going to need to use my tab key, but I can tab in and select a curtain wall panel.
And then finally, right here in the middle of the mullion, is a curtain wall grid. Now the grids actually subdivide the curtain wall and they're expressed with mullions and in-between the mullions, you have the panels. And we're going to look at all of those components in a future movie. But in this movie, I just want to look at what's controlling the spacing of this curtain wall. Now, it will be a little easier to understand this if we go to another view. So let's open up our 3D view. So I'm going come over here to my default 3D view icon, and click it.
There's the curtain wall there. I'm going to use my view cube to spin around to the other side, and then I'll do my zoom in region to just zoom in and get a closer look at that. This time, when you highlight the curtain wall, a dashed box will appear all the way around it. So in 3D, it just expresses the overall curtain wall a little differently, but you can still highlight the individual mullions, you can still tab in and select the individual panels, and so on. What I want to do is select the curtain wall itself. So again, make sure you're getting that dashed box.
And notice that there's a small dot here and here, little dot controls, and then there's a triangle here and here. The little dot controls allow us to actually change the length. So as I drag that dot in either direction, notice that the bays in the vertical direction are staying equally spaced. At some point, if I stretch it far enough, it will add a new bay. So now you can see I have six bays but they're still equally spaced.
If I stretch back again, at some point it will remove one of those bays, but they're still equally spaced. Now, contrast that to the behavior in the vertical direction when I drag this small triangle. Notice here that the bottom bay is staying a fixed size. As it stretches, it adjusts only the top bay. Now at some point, if you stretch far enough, it will add a new bay, and then again, all of the leftover goes to the top bay. So what's exactly going on there? So let's take a look at those settings.
Like any object in Revit, you can click the Edit Type button on the Properties pallet to get to the type settings for this object. So here is the vertical grid, and here is the horizontal grid for this curtain wall. The reason that the spacing running along the length was equal is the because the layout of the vertical grids is using a maximum spacing of five feet. So this just simply means it's going to get as close to five feet as it can, without going over, and then, if it would need to go over, it just adds another bay.
And then in the other direction, when you shorten the grid, again, it's goal is to get as close to five feet as it can. So it will remove bays, if it can, in order to get a larger bay closer to five feet. And that's the behavior we were witnessing. In this direction, it's using a fixed distance of eight feet, which is why we're seeing a full eight feet, and then a full eight feet, and then all the leftover just goes to the top. So you can actually change both of those settings to a variety of other choices. Fixed distance, fixed number, minimum spacing, maximum spacing, and I encourage you to experiment with those if you like.
However, if you're planning to experiment, you might want to click Duplicate here first and give the storefront a new name so that you preserve the original storefront intact. Now, down at the bottom, you can see that there's vertical mullions and horizontal mullions and each of those has three possibilities. So you have a border on both sides, here, Border 1, Border 2, and then an Interior Type on both sides. So you've got a border on all four sides, essentially, and then these internal ones. And if you click here, you'll see other choices are available.
So if you were to choose something else and click Apply, you're going to see that change applies across the entire curtain wall. Now I'm going to reset it back to the 2.5" X 5" square here before I continue, but you can see that that applied to the interior type for all the vertical mullions when I made the change. Now at the top, there's a couple other settings that are worth noting. The Curtain Panel is using the default panel called System Panel - Glazed, which is why these panels look like they're glass. And then right above that, we have Automatically Embed.
And that's checked on. Now, it's easier for me to just demonstrate to you how Automatically Embed works. So what I'm going to do is actually delete this curtain wall. I'm going to return to the Level 1 floor plan, Zoom to fit with z + f, and then zoom in region over here around the stair. And I've got this blank wall right here. So what I'm going to do is go to my Wall command, Storefront should still be chosen, and this time, I'm going to draw the storefront exactly on top of the existing wall.
So I'll just click two points to place it there, and notice that it actually cuts right into the mass of the existing wall. This is what Automatically Embed means. So the curtain wall is essentially behaving like a door or a window. Now, it will be easier to see that if we go to another view. So let's go to elevations and open up the north elevation. I'll zoom in region again to get a closer look. And now, if you move your mouse around the edge, notice the wall is highlighting the parent wall and you can see the hole that it's cutting.
And if I press tab, I can get the dashed edge. That's the curtain wall. So I'm going to go ahead and click to get the dashed edge and once again, I can use this grip here to start adjusting the height of the curtain wall to allow more light into that stairwell. Now I can also use other standard editing techniques like using my Align command. So I'm going to align to this level right here for the high roof, highlight the top edge of the curtain wall, but notice it says that's the parent wall, so I'll press tab until it gives me the dashed edge of the curtain wall, and then I'll click, and that will extend the height of the curtain wall up to that level.
Now, I'll click the Modify tool to cancel out of align, and then let me roll my wheel to zoom in a little bit closer. And this is kind of tight right here to the corner of that curtain wall to the underlying edge of the roof there. So let's adjust that. This next thing we can do with any kind of wall. I'm going to tab in and select the curtain wall, and the command I want to look at it called Edit Profile. Now you can edit the profile of a curtain wall, a wall, or a stacked wall. They all support this feature. But here's how it works. Notice it takes me into sketch mode.
So here in sketch mode, I can actually customize the shape of the profile of the wall itself. So I'm going to use the Pick Lines option right here. I don't want to place the line right on the edge of the roof. What I want to do is offset it some distance away from that. So I'm going to put five feet in the Offset field here, come over here and highlight the edge of the roof, move my mouse slightly so that it goes down instead of up, and then I'll click to place that diagonal line. I'll switch to the Trim and Extend to a Corner command and select the sides that I want to keep.
Remember, with Trim, you always pick the side you want to keep. So I want to keep this side and this side. And that will clean up the shape and then when I click Finish, it will customize the shape of the curtain wall to match that sketch and you can see that it now looks a little cleaner. So a curtain wall object is the most complex of our three wall families. It has a series of grids, that divided into bays, those bays are expressed with panels and mullions and if you work with the type base properties, you can set a regular spacing in both directions.
In a future movie, we'll look at setting base basing custom by doing it manually and look at some of the ways that we can customize the grids and the bays and the mullions.
First, get comfortable with the Revit environment, and learn to set up a project and add the grids, levels, and dimensions that will anchor your design. Then author Paul F. Aubin helps you dive into modeling: adding walls, doors, and windows; using joins and constraints; creating and mirroring groups; linking to external assets and DWG files; and modeling floors, roofs, and ceilings.
Paul also shows advanced techniques for modeling stairs and complex walls, adding rooms, and creating schedules. Finally, discover how to annotate your drawings so all the components are clearly understood, and learn how to output sheets to DWF, PDF, or AutoCAD.
- Understanding BIM and the Revit element hierarchy
- Navigating views
- Creating a new project from a template
- Adding walls, doors, and windows
- Adding plumbing fixtures and other components
- Linking AutoCAD DWG files
- Rotating and aligning Revit links
- Working with footprint and extrusion roofs
- Adding openings
- Adding railings and extensions to stairs
- Creating stacked and curtain walls
- Hiding and isolating objects
- Adding rooms
- Creating schedule views and tags
- Adding text and dimensions
- Creating new families
- Using reference planes, parameters, and constraints
- Plotting and creating a PDF