“The earliest curtain wall appeared in 1918 when new steel frame and fenestration technology afforded this liberation of skin from structure.” (Weber and Thompson, 2003, para. 3). However, the same report by (Weber and Thompson, 2003, para. 6) mentions that the concept of curtain walls was not widely employed in the construction of high rise buildings until 1950, when sufficient insulating and air treatment methods, necessary to counteract the high speed winds the curtain-walled building was subjected to, had been unveiled. In the beginning, the curtain wall system was made up of steel frames and other materials. Nowadays, there is a wide range of materials which are used in the formation of the curtain walls that include but are not limited to glass, marble, stone and other metals. Today, glass is used more commonly in combination with the aluminium frames, which offers additional thermal benefits for the structure. Unlike the conventional system in which load of the structure is fundamentally carried by the perimetric walls of a building, the curtain walled buildings rely upon the structural members of the framed structure that carry an additional weight of the curtain wall.
Use of curtain wall in the structures causes considerable reduction in the total load of the structure. Its self weight is much lesser than the conventional non-load bearing walls that were used in place of curtain walls, once the concept was not very common. Besides, any wind pressure that the curtain wall is subjected to is transferred to the structural members, namely the concrete slabs and columns that the curtain wall is connected to and taken down to the foundations.
The curtain wall essentially acts like a shield against the weather. It serves to protect the building against the wind pressure and other environmental factors that can be detrimental to the