Title:
Curtain Wall Systems and Methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
According to the invention, a curtain wall system for a building is disclosed. The curtain wall system may include an interior vertical member, an external vertical member, and a wall panel. The interior vertical member may be coupled with a floor of the building. The external vertical member may be coupled with the interior vertical member. The wall panel may be supported by the floor of the building and disposed between the interior vertical member and the external vertical member.



Inventors:
Termohlen, David E. (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Application Number:
11/766040
Publication Date:
12/25/2008
Filing Date:
06/20/2007
Assignee:
Thornton-Termohlen Group Corporation (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/745.09
International Classes:
E04B2/88
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FERENCE, JAMES M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TOWNSEND AND TOWNSEND AND CREW, LLP (TWO EMBARCADERO CENTER, EIGHTH FLOOR, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 94111-3834, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A curtain wall system for a building, wherein the curtain wall system comprises: an interior vertical member, wherein: the interior vertical member is coupled with a floor of the building; an external vertical member, wherein: the external vertical member is coupled with the interior vertical member; and a wall panel, wherein: the wall panel is supported by the floor of the building; and the wall panel is disposed between the interior vertical member and the external vertical member.

2. The curtain wall system for a building of claim 1, wherein the interior vertical member is coupled with a portion of the building above the floor.

3. The curtain wall system for a building of claim 1, wherein: the interior vertical member defines at least a first cavity; the external vertical member defines at least a second cavity; and the external vertical member being coupled with the interior vertical member comprises a coupling member disposed in the first cavity and the second cavity.

4. The curtain wall system for a building of claim 1, wherein the curtain wall system for the building further comprises: a support member, wherein the support member is coupled with the floor, and wherein the wall panel being supported by the floor of the building comprises the wall panel being supported with the support member.

5. The curtain wall system for a building of claim 1, wherein the wall panel comprises a multiple pane glass panel.

6. The curtain wall system for a building of claim 1, wherein the curtain wall system for a building further comprises: a deformable media disposed between the wall panel and a portion of the building above the floor.

7. The curtain wall system for a building of claim 1, wherein the interior vertical member defines a vertical chase configured to allow access to the vertical chase from an interior of the building.

8. The curtain wall system for a building of claim 1, wherein the curtain wall system for a building further comprises: a cover coupled with a portion of the building above the floor, wherein the cover is configured to at least partially cover an interface between the wall panel and the portion of the building above the floor.

9. The curtain wall system for a building of claim 8, wherein the cover comprises a lower lip angled away from an interior of the building.

10. A method of providing a curtain wall system for a building, wherein the method comprises: coupling an interior vertical member with a floor of the building; supporting a wall panel on an exterior side of the interior vertical member; and coupling an external vertical member with the internal vertical member, wherein the wall panel is disposed between the interior vertical member and the external vertical member.

11. The method of providing a curtain wall system for a building of claim 10, wherein the method further comprises: supporting the wall panel with the floor of the building.

12. The method of providing a curtain wall system for a building of claim 11, wherein supporting the wall panel with the floor of the building comprises: coupling a support member with the floor; and supporting the wall panel with the support member.

13. The method of providing a curtain wall system for a building of claim 10, wherein the method further comprises: disposing a deformable media between a top of the wall panel and a portion of the building above the floor.

14. The method of providing a curtain wall system for a building of claim 10, wherein the method further comprises: moving the floor upward until a top of the wall panel is in proximity to a portion of the building above the floor.

15. The method of providing a curtain wall system for a building of claim 10, wherein the method further comprises: coupling the interior vertical member with a portion of the building above the floor.

16. The method of providing a curtain wall system for a building of claim 10, wherein the interior vertical member defines at least a first cavity, the external vertical member defines at least a second cavity; and coupling an external vertical member with the internal vertical member comprises disposing a coupling member in the first cavity and the second cavity.

17. A curtain wall system for a building, wherein the curtain wall system comprises: a wall panel; a first means for at least partially defining the position of the wall panel; and a second means for at least partially securing the wall panel between the first means and the second means.

18. The curtain wall system for a building of claim 17, wherein the curtain wall system for a building further comprises: a third means for supporting the wall panel from a floor of the building.

19. The curtain wall system for a building of claim 17, wherein the curtain wall system for a building further comprises: a fourth means for coupling the first means with the second means.

20. The curtain wall system for a building of claim 17, wherein the curtain wall system for a building further comprises: a fifth means for at least partially sealing at least one edge of the wall panel to a portion of the building above a floor supporting the wall panel.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to building construction. More specifically the invention relates to systems and methods which provide curtain walls, especially at the exterior perimeter of a building, where at least some of the floors are moved from a first, lower elevation, into their final positions at a higher elevation.

Existing curtain wall systems have been used to provide exterior walls on buildings. These walls provide lightweight solutions to sealing the shell of a building without supporting any significant portion of the weight of individual floors or the roof of the building.

However, existing curtain wall systems are designed to be applied to a building where the floors are already in their final location prior to provision of the curtain wall. Consequently, connections must be made simultaneously to both the floor and the ceiling level when coupling existing curtain wall systems to a building. Hence, in a building where the floors are individually raised into position after curtain wall construction for that level is completed, existing curtain wall systems are inadequate. Embodiments of the invention provide solutions to this and other problems.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, a curtain wall system for a building is provided. The curtain wall system may include an interior vertical member, an external vertical member, and a wall panel. The interior may be coupled with a floor of the building. The external vertical member may be coupled with the interior vertical member. The wall panel may be supported by the floor of the building, and may also be disposed between the interior vertical member and the external vertical member.

In another embodiment, a method of providing a curtain wall system for a building is provided. The method may include coupling an interior vertical member with a floor of the building. The method may also include supporting a wall panel on an exterior side of the interior vertical member. The method may further include coupling an external vertical member with the internal vertical member, where the wall panel is disposed between the interior vertical member and the external vertical member.

In another embodiment, another curtain wall system for a building is provided. The curtain wall system may include a wall panel, a first means, and a second means. The first means may be for at least partially defining the position of the wall panel. The second means may be for at least partially securing the wall panel between the first means and the second means.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is described in conjunction with the appended figures:

FIG. 1 is an elevation view of a floor of a building with a support member attached thereto;

FIG. 1A-A is a plan view of FIG. 1;

FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the system in FIG. 1 with an interior vertical member coupled with the support member;

FIG. 2A-A is a sectional plan view of FIG. 2;

FIG. 2B-B is another sectional plan view of FIG. 2;

FIG. 3 is an elevation view of the system in FIG. 2 with a multiple pane glass wall panel supported by the support member;

FIG. 4 is an elevation view of the system in FIG. 3 with an exterior vertical member coupled with the interior vertical member;

FIG. 4A-A is a sectional plan view of FIG. 4;

FIG. 4B-B is another section plan view of FIG. 4;

FIG. 5 is an elevation view of the system in FIG. 4 after the floor has been lifted in proximity to the floor above; and

FIG. 6 is an elevation view of the system in FIG. 5 after the floor has been lifted into final position and coupled to the floor above.

In the appended figures, similar components and/or features may have the same numerical reference label. Further, various components of the same type may be distinguished by following the reference label by a letter that distinguishes among the similar components and/or features. If only the first numerical reference label is used in the specification, the description is applicable to any one of the similar components and/or features having the same first numerical reference label irrespective of the letter suffix. Note also that the figures may or may not be to scale.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The ensuing description provides exemplary embodiments only, and is not intended to limit the scope, applicability or configuration of the disclosure. Rather, the ensuing description of the exemplary embodiments will provide those skilled in the art with an enabling description for implementing one or more exemplary embodiments. It being understood that various changes may be made in the function and arrangement of elements without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.

Specific details are given in the following description to provide a thorough understanding of the embodiments. However, it will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that the embodiments may be practiced without these specific details. For example, systems, structures, and other components may be shown as components in block diagram form in order not to obscure the embodiments in unnecessary detail. In other instances, well-known processes, procedures and techniques may be shown without unnecessary detail in order to avoid obscuring the embodiments.

Also, it is noted that individual embodiments may be described as a process which is depicted as a flowchart, a flow diagram, a structure diagram, or a block diagram. Although a flowchart may describe the operations as a sequential process, many of the operations can be performed in parallel or concurrently. In addition, the order of the operations may be re-arranged. A process may be terminated when its operations are completed, but could have additional steps not included in a figure. A process may correspond to a method, a process, a procedure, a technique, etc. Furthermore, embodiments may be implemented by manual techniques, automatic techniques, or any combination thereof.

In one embodiment of the invention, a curtain wall system for a building is provided. The curtain wall system may include an interior vertical member, an external vertical member, and a wall panel. The interior may be coupled with a floor of the building. The external vertical member may be coupled with the interior vertical member. The wall panel may be supported by the floor of the building, and may also be disposed between the interior vertical member and the external vertical member.

In some embodiments, the interior vertical member may be an extruded shape, possibly made from aluminum, though any other methods of manufacture and materials may be used to create the interior vertical member. In some embodiments, the extruded vertical member may have a consistent cross section along its length, while in other embodiments the cross section of the vertical member may change along its length.

In some embodiments, the interior vertical member may have a yoke shaped cross section. In some of these embodiments, the wide end of the yoke and the narrow end of the yoke may each have at least a partially defined interior volume which opens to opposite sides. In other embodiments, the interior vertical member may have an ‘H’ shaped cross section. In some of these embodiments, as with yoke shaped cross section embodiments, both ends of the ‘H’ shaped cross section may have at least a partially defined interior volume which opens to opposite sides.

In all of these or other embodiments, one open side volume may, merely by way of example, define a mechanical and/or electrical chase. Meanwhile, the other open side volume may define a volume for acceptance of a portion of the exterior vertical member. Once a portion of the exterior vertical member is disposed within the volume, a coupling operation may occur to couple the interior vertical member to the exterior vertical member. In some embodiments, each of the interior vertical member and the exterior vertical member may define cavities which, when the exterior vertical member is inserted into the interior vertical member, align, and are operable to accept a coupling member which traverses through the cavities.

In any of the embodiments described or otherwise, at least one tapered mandrel may assist in aligning the cavities of the interior and exterior vertical members. In some embodiments, tapered mandrels may be inserted in some of the nearly aligned cavities so as to align all of the cavities. Coupling members may then be inserted into the cavities without mandrels, then the mandrels removed so that coupling members may be inserted into the remaining cavities.

In some embodiments, to couple the interior vertical member to the floor, a support member may first be coupled with the floor, and the interior vertical member may coupled with the support member. The support member may have protrusions, or lugs, which allow for a horizontal coupling of a possibly relatively flat support member with the interior vertical member.

In some embodiments, the support member may also at least partially support the wall panel. The wall panel may be any sort of panel which can provide some type separation between one side of the panel and the other. In some embodiments, the panel may be of opaque construction, for example, a solid or hollow wall panel. In other embodiments, the panel may be substantially transparent or translucent, for example, a window panel. In yet other embodiments, the panel may be a combination of both opaque and transparent or translucent construction. In some embodiments, the wall panel may have an operable portion, for example an operable window and/or door. Door configured panels may be especially applicable in instances where ground floor walls are being erected, or where a balcony on the building is above the ground floor.

In some embodiments, the space between the top of the wall panel and a portion of the building above the floor, for example, the floor or roof above, may be occupied by a deformable media to seal the interface between the wall panel and the portion of the building above the floor. Merely by way of example, the deformable media may be a urethane sponge or other flexible and/or malleable media. In some embodiments, the floor or roof above the floor with the assembled curtain wall may have the deformable media coupled with it prior to the floor with the assembled curtain wall being moved into final position.

In some embodiments, the interior vertical member may be coupled with the portion of the building above the floor, for example, the floor or roof above. In these or other embodiments, the exterior vertical member may also be coupled with the portion of the building above the floor. In some of these embodiments, this may include the coupling member disposed in one of the aligned cavities of the interior and exterior vertical members also disposed in a cavity within an additional member coupled with the floor or roof above.

Also, some embodiments a cover may be provided at the edge of a portion of the building above the floor, for example, the floor or roof above. The cover may also be configured to at least partially cover the interface between the wall panel and the portion of the building above the floor. In some of these embodiments, the cover may include a lower lip which is angled away from the interior of the building, possibly to assist in guiding the curtain wall toward the interior of the building thereby enabling the cover to cover the interface between the curtain wall and the above floor or roof.

In another embodiment of the invention, a method of providing a curtain wall system for a building is provided. The method may include coupling an interior vertical member with a floor of the building. The method may also include supporting a wall panel on an exterior side of the interior vertical member. The method may further include coupling an external vertical member with the internal vertical member, where the wall panel is disposed between the interior vertical member and the external vertical member. In many embodiments, methods may include steps necessary and/or optional for creating any of the systems described herein.

In some embodiments, the method may also include supporting the wall panel with the floor of the building. Furthermore, the method may also include coupling a support member with the floor and supporting the wall panel with the support member. In some embodiments, the method may also include disposing a deformable media between a top of the wall panel and a portion of the building above the floor.

In some embodiments, the method may include moving the floor upward until a top of the wall panel is in proximity to a portion of the building above the floor. In some embodiments, possibly once the floor has been moved to at least near its final position, the method may include coupling the interior vertical member and/or the exterior vertical member with a portion of the building above the floor.

In another embodiment of the invention, another curtain wall system for a building is provided. The curtain wall system may include a wall panel, a first means, and a second means.

In some embodiments, the first means may be for at least partially defining the position of the wall panel. In some embodiments, the first means may include at least any of the interior vertical members discussed herein.

In some embodiments, the second means may be for at least partially securing the wall panel between the first means and the second means. In some embodiments, the second means may include at least any of the exterior vertical members discussed herein.

In some embodiments, the system may also include a third means for supporting the wall panel from a floor of the building. In some embodiments, the third means may include at least any of the support members discussed herein.

In some embodiments, the system may also include a fourth means for coupling the first means with the second means. In some embodiments, the fourth means may include at least any of the coupling members discussed herein.

In some embodiments, the system may also include a fifth means for at least partially sealing at least one edge of the wall panel to a portion of the building above a floor supporting the wall panel. In some embodiments, the fifth means may include at least any of the deformable media discussed herein.

FIG. 1 is an elevation view 100 of a floor 105 of a building with a support member 110 coupled thereto. FIG. 1A-A is a plan view of FIG. 1. Support member 110 may be coupled to floor 105 by, for example, an expansion bolt 115. Support member 110 may also have lugs 120 which will be used to couple an interior support member (not yet shown) with floor 105.

Also shown in FIG. 1 are a deformable media 125 and cover 130. Deformable media 125 may be coupled with both floor 105 and support member 110, possibly via glue or other adhesive, and may extend around at least some portion or the entire perimeter of floor 105. Likewise, cover 130 may also be coupled with support member 110, and may extend around at least some portion or the entire perimeter of floor 105. Note that cover 130 is not shown in FIG. 1A-A for the sake of clarity. Support members 110 may be coupled with floor 105 at intervals corresponding to the widths of the wall panels to be installed about the perimeter of floor 105 to form a complete and/or partial curtain wall. Therefore, note that in some embodiments, while support members 110 may be coupled with floor 105 at intervals, while deformable media 125 and cover 130 may be coupled around the floor 105 perimeter substantially continuously, even if the deformable media 125 and cover 130 are not continuous pieces, but multiple pieces.

Merely by way of example, the types of floors and building in which embodiments of the invention may be employed are described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/746,834, filed May 10, 2007 and entitled “Multi-Story Building,” and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/757,899 filed Jun. 4, 2007 and entitled “Floor Support Systems and Methods.” The entire contents of both of these applications are hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes.

FIG. 2 is an elevation view 200 of the system in FIG. 1 with an interior vertical member 205 coupled with support member 110. FIG. 2A-A and FIG. 2B-B are sectional plan views of FIG. 2. Merely by way of example, interior vertical member 205 may be coupled with floor 105 via lugs 120 on support member 110. In other embodiments, interior vertical member 205 could be coupled directly with floor 105.

Note that in this exemplary embodiment, interior vertical support member 205 may be yoke shaped with a first interior volume 210 facing the interior of the building, and a second interior volume 215 facing the exterior of the building. First interior volume 210 may be used as a mechanical and/or electrical chase, and may be covered with cover, possibly a cover which fits onto interior vertical support member 205 via an interference fit. A split volume interior vertical support member 205, whether yoke shaped or otherwise, also offers increased structural rigidity and strength.

Interior vertical support member 205 may also have a plurality of cavities 220, possibly through the walls defining second interior volume 215. These cavities 220 may be employed as discussed herein to couple interior vertical member 205 with exterior vertical member (not yet shown) and/or any part of the structure, including the floor and/or roof above.

FIG. 3 is an elevation view 300 of the system in FIG. 2 with two multiple pane glass wall panel 305 (one glass wall panel is behind the one shown) supported by support member 110, and possibly nominally resting against interior vertical member 205. An aesthetic and functional member 310 may also be coupled with the top of wall panel 305 to provide a smooth finished appearance where the wall panel will meet with another floor and/or roof.

FIG. 4 is an elevation view 400 of the system in FIG. 3 with an exterior vertical member 405 coupled with interior vertical member 205. FIG. 4A-A and FIG. 4B-B are sectional plan views of FIG. 4. A coupling member 410 is also shown, at each cavity 220, thereby coupling exterior vertical member 405 with interior vertical member 205. A deformable media 415 may also be place between wall panels 305 and exterior vertical member 405 to assist in sealing and insulating the curtain wall. After the process shown thus far has been repeated around the perimeter of floor 105, in some embodiments, floor 105 may be ready for movement into final position.

FIG. 5 is an elevation view 500 of the system in FIG. 4 after floor 105 has been lifted in proximity to a floor 105A above. FIG. 6 is an elevation view 600 of the system in FIG. 5 after floor 105 has been lifted into final position and coupled to floor 105A above.

Note that in the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 5 and FIG. 6, floor 105A above floor 105 has a similarly constructed curtain wall. Also shown on FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 are perimeter support beam 505, and stabilizer member 510 with slotted cavity 515. Floor 105 also may have perimeter support beam 505 and stabilizer member 510 with slotted cavity 515, but it is not shown here for clarity. Note how the angled edge of cover 130A may at least assist in ensuring the top of the curtain wall is guided to the correct final position.

Once floor 105 is in final position, deformable media 125A may at least assist in sealing the interface between wall panel 305 and floor 105A. Additionally, interior vertical member 205 may be coupled with floor 105A via slotted cavity 515 in stabilizer member 510. The vertical slot shape of slotted cavity 515 may assist in minimizing the effect of small variations in final location of floor 105 on coupling interior vertical member 205 to the above floor 105A. Coupling at stabilizer member 510 around the perimeter at each interior vertical member 205 may then be completed to finish the installation of the curtain wall.

Note that at any point during the described processes, adhesive and/or sealant solids and/or liquids may be applied to different components and/or interfaces of different components to provide between such components and interfaces.

A number of variations and modifications of the invention can also be used within the scope of the invention. For example, those skilled in the art will now recognize that at least similar systems and method discussed herein may be used to provide interior partitioning and walling within the interior of a building. In another possible variation, wall panels which provide exterior walls for two levels of the building may be similarly coupled with the building, meaning that a curtain wall would only have to be built on every other floor before lifting the floor into place.

The invention has now been described in detail for the purposes of clarity and understanding. However, it will be appreciated that certain changes and modifications may be practiced within the scope of the appended claims.