5 advantages of wooden curtain walling compared to aluminium or steel

Architecture seeks sustainable solutions to continue evolving. Some answers lie in wood as the principal ecological building material.

Thanks to wood’s certifications for structural use, architecture is evolving with ecological innovation solutions. One example is wooden curtain walling. It is a natural alternative to other non-sustainable construction materials, such as steel and aluminium, traditionally used in this type of interior lightweight façade projects.

Wooden curtain walling is already possible thanks to VIGAM, the only oak glulam beam in the world with the CE marking for structural use, designed and manufactured by GRUPO GÁMIZ. Its advantages for curtain walling, in this case in comparison with steel and aluminium, are as follows:

  1. Ecological and sustainable curtain walling

Wood is the ecological and natural material par excellence. Its sustainable use guarantees the development of forest masses all over the world. It barely requires any energy to obtain it. Quite the opposite of aluminium and steel, where production costs (and pollution) are very high.

Nevertheless, the sustainable origin of the wood used has to be ensured. Therefore, it is essential to have the most important international sustainability certificates with the most reliable guarantee, such as FSC or PEFC.

Fachada ligera con muro cortina con vigas laminadas de roble de Grupo Gámiz en el proyecto Cambridge UK

Cambridge Biomedical Campus | Arch: Herzog & de Meuron | Product: Application of curtain wall – Oak glulam

  1. Aesthetics and beauty

The coldness of metals and various alloys may be attractive to many tastes (there’s no accounting for taste), but in matters of aesthetics, wood is unrivalled. Natural becomes emotional, warmth, a welcoming feeling and, in most cases, sensations of pure beauty.

Certification for structural use of quality wood, as well as its ecological and sustainable properties, have brought wood back to the forefront of the minds of architects and designers. This is the case of one hundred percent wooden curtain walling, without the need for any coating, a reality that is more and more present in their projects.

Muro de cortina de madera cien por cien hecho con viga laminada de roble aplicación proyecto sede Enovos Luxemburgo

Enovos, Luxembourg  |Arch: Jim Clemes | Product: Oak glulam – curtain wall

  1. Natural insulation

Unlike materials such as aluminium and steel, wood, by its very nature, is a natural insulator. Without any intervention of any kind, wood controls humidity thanks to its hygroscopic qualities. In other words, it regulates the interior humidity: in summer it provides humidity to the environment and in winter it absorbs it. This innate condition provides significant savings and well-being simply by choosing it as a material. 

This capacity, in addition, improves the environmental quality, neutralising bad odours, renewing the air and even absorbing toxic substances.

Muro cortina con vigas laminadas de roble de Grupo Gámiz en la sede Enovos, Luxemburgo.

Enovos, Luxembourg  | Arch: Jim Clemes | Product: Oak glulam – curtain wall

  1. Very fire resistant

Wood has a very attractive paradox for architects and construction companies. Yes, it is an excellent fuel, but at the same time its behaviour in construction is similar to that of non-combustible materials.

This happens because its low thermal conductivity makes wood a material that resists the penetration of fire very well, thus allowing it to maintain its physical and mechanical properties much better and for longer than aluminium (and even than steel and cement). In other words, it not only burns less, but also more gradually.

Fachada ligera realizada con muros cortina, proyecto Enovos, Luxemburgo.

Enovos, Luxembourg  | Arch: Jim Clemes | Product: Oak glulam – curtain wall

  1. Maintenance

The certified quality of the glulam beams by GRUPO GÁMIZ enable projects made with VIGAM simply to shine in themselves. It does not need any maintenance for either structural purposes or, of course, aesthetic. This is not the case for metals and derivatives, where the effects of corrosion make it necessary to invest periodically in cleaning, protection and even restoration.

In short, wooden curtain walling is an ecological, practical, aesthetic, resistant and effective response for architects who want their projects to have the hallmark of sustainable architecture.

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