The latest technology in sustainable façades: wooden curtain walling

Architects trust the structural use of wooden beams to combine beauty and sustainability. One innovation is wooden curtain walling.

The concept of sustainable architecture seeks construction and building solutions that prioritise all that is sustainable and ecological and that, at the same time, spur creativity and imagination in projects.

In this regard, sustainable construction materials play a very important role. The versatility of wood, a natural material (together with stone, one of the mainstays of architecture since the beginning), brings it to centre stage in the revolution in façades: wooden curtain walling.

Muro cortina de madera realizado con vigas de madera de roble de uso estructural para sumar belleza a la sostenibilidad en esta fachada ligera en el secretariado del Parlamento Europeo de Luxemburgo.

New General Secretariat of the European Parliament, Luxembourg | Product: Oak glulam – wooden curtain wall

Sustainability starts with the façade

Architects’ shop talk usually mentions the façade as the key to a project. This is not just the first impression the building gives, it is also, to a great extent, its capacity for sustainability and energy efficiency.

There is talk of sustainable façades, principally when in their development favours energy savings by making use of the sunlight and effective thermal insulation. Technology has advanced in the design and construction of profiles, lightweight façades and ventilated façades. Nevertheless, the latest innovation in façades is the structural use of wood.

Aplicación muro cortina de madera en la fachada sostenible de Herzog & de Meuron en el proyecto Cambridge UK

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

Wooden curtain walling: beautiful, sustainable and functional

Façades are now much more sustainable thanks to wood. Architects are making use of the advantages of wooden beams for structural use to create beautiful, sustainable curtain walling.

In this type of curtain walling the passage of light is guaranteed as with other materials, but the design has greater sustainability with the renewable properties of wood, its virtues as a material with a low energy consumption (much less energy is invested in its production than in concrete, aluminium or steel and, therefore, fewer greenhouse gases are produced) and its capacity as natural thermal insulation.

And of course, the aesthetics of the façade gain from the personality of wood, with its sensations of warmth, elegance and naturalness.

El muro cortina de madera en The Maison de l’Ordre des Avocats del arquitecto Renzo Piano, hace que esta fachada ligera sea algo bello, sostenible y funcional.

Maison de l’Ordre des Avocats | Arch: Renzo Piano studio | Grupo Gámiz Product: Oak glulam – curtain wall | Photo courtesy of ©L.Zylberman/Graphix-Images

VIGAM: the only oak glulam beam in the world with the CE marking for structural use

At GRUPO GÁMIZ we manufacture VIGAM, the only oak glulam beam in the world with the CE marking for structural use. We obtained this certificate of compliance in 2013, issued by the Materials Testing Institute of the University of Stuttgart (MPA Stuttgart, Otto-Graf-Institut)

The technology, resistance, function and beauty of VIGAM makes this beam ideal not only as a component for interior design and decoration but also in projects with significant sustainable demands. For example, it is essential in building wooden curtain walling, where the beauty of oak becomes, in addition, a functional resource in achieving an ecological façade.

In conclusion, wood is today, more than ever, a sustainable alternative already available to architects who seek an environmental commitment and creative freedom in their work.

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