Improve definition| panelized curved facade

Hi all,

i’m working on a definition (on which we started here to discuss Troubleshooting: srf split doesn’t work correctly) to create a glass panelized facade with a cable mullion structure, similar to this

I have already created the panelized facade that in my case is curved.
this is the rhino file glass facade.3dm (11.8 MB)

Q1: this is the definition and works very well for what i need, but doesnt work perfectly always. Surely the logic behind some steps isn’t perfect and can be simpler and better. Any ideas?

glass (1.1 MB)

Q2: Any idea to do the cable mullion structure for the facade?

Thanks in advance

These are called planar glazing facades/systems (NOT structural or semi-structural): where there’s no alu/steel/hybrid (i.e. like JansenViss) frame around. Just brackets fixed by struts(push) and cables (pull) exactly like a tensegrity truss (Google that). Brackets may have a freedom of adjustment (blob type of facades etc) making similar systems the most expensive facades known to man (way above 2K /M2 for a double glazing system). Structural silicone (like the one used in structural facades) is used for the gaps between glass panels … but that material has a ELS of (max) 25 years meaning the obvious.

That said and depending on regional seismic activity planar systems MAY require a 100% standalone supporting tensegrity truss. For instance stuff for California or Japan etc etc. But if you design a facade in NY … well … it could be considerably more airy.

So I’m guessing correctly that you are after a solution like this?



  1. Your roof doesn’t “fit” with the aesthetics of the outlined planar system. Roof is a “random” blob (too much/overkill if you ask me [BTW: is it some freaky tensile membrane???]) but that orthogonal facade belongs to another design era. Try to use some other more “fluid” approach (or change the roof). Anyway IF the roof is indeed a membrane (double layered and insulated) … connecting the facade is a task for very experienced pros.
  2. Chances are that even a more “suitable” facade it would require (for that type of roof) a standalone tensegrity truss or a hybrid system co-operating with the roof LBS. That makes things far far more complex I’m afraid (and in most of cases is a recipe for bad aesthetics).
  3. Planar systems either should been handled in full detail … or abandon ship. It’s meaningless (even for Academic puproses) to outline a solution that requires several steps more in order to qualify as something remotely close to real-life.
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hi @PeterFotiadis and thank you for the accurate answer.
I’m a student from Italy and I read all your comments with interest.
Anyway this is a project for the university of Florence, so it has only academic purposes.
In summary the project is for an exhibition pavilion built with experimental techniques and forms.

I try to explain briefly my project.
The core of the project is the structure made of concrete pillars that connect seamlessly to the roof, also in concrete. in fact the idea was to create a fluid and continuous structure, within which to obtain the spaces.

A reference to the project is the Kakamigahara crematorium by Toyo Ito
Here some image:

Made the structure, I need a closure and openings for the entrances. but I want this to be as transparent as possible so as not to hinder the main object of the project, i.e. the structure described above.

So I studied a little the systems of glass enclosures from the book “STRUCTURAL GLASS FACADES AND ENCLOSURES” by Mic Patterson. the author states that one of the lighter types is visually the “cable mullion system”, used for the Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center by DSR (Google that).


Certainly in my case I would not use a too complex system of beams and cables as you showed in the example above:both for aesthetic reasons, both because it is too complicated to manage all the components for my knowledge at the time.

I post a model still under study of the project, so just to understand a little better.
padiglione_revisione.rar (11.2 MB)

Let me know! :slight_smile:

Well … for a facade of that height … a system using glass struts (replacing alu struts) is reasonable.

  1. Take care of the proportions: must be big in x,y and small in z (for instance creating a glass tower and putting on top a roof like this … well… avoid at any cost).
  2. Create spaces et all under the freaky roof envelope.
  3. Create a Polyline (or a Curve) as the facade footprint and reference it a GH Polyline/Curve. Thus you can vary the poly/curve nodes with Rhino (you can do that interactively in GH [and store/recall variations] but requires code).
  4. Poly segments must derive (ideally) as multiples of the same glass module. That is doable via Kangaroo, mind. Of course dividing a Curve (by Length) makes things easier.
  5. Mastermind a policy for the struts having in mind commercially available glass max width sizes (double glazing is a must).
  6. Extrude (z) the segments yielding a x facade segment and intersect the segment with the roof (do the same with the glass struts). Divide the segment for the glass panels.

Actually … well … is not that simple (I’ll try to make a simple def that outl;ines all the above).

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i love this comment. Maybe you could give me support on the definition i 've alresdy made? or did you mean to create a new one?

Anyway i’ve already done a quite complex definition for the glass panels that is the one i upload in this topic. Did you see it?
there i can change the height, the width, and the thickness of the glass panels, and the distance among them (the structural silicone).

Then these days I went ahead and now i almost finished tre structure of the cable mullions, with the points for the fixings.

now i’m struggling with the fixings ahah

Yes I’ve seen it but it doesn’t address the big thing: how to do a closed curve that yields equal width glass panels (but is this detail worth a penny or two? who’s gonna notice it?).

On the other hand if you want to put the glass struts every x modules > ???

maybe i dont get it, why i need a closed curve? in this case i dont think i need it.
I start from an open curve and
1 i divide it in segments of equal lenght ( i used divide distance to do it) and i extrude them
2 i trim the extrusions with the roof and then i divide the extrusions with horizontal curve and i get the ‘raw surfaces’ of the panels
3 then i cut out all the panels with the area min than x, and i join them with the consecutive ones…
maybe it’s too complicated and there is a simpler way but i dont know, i it works fine for the result i want…


maybe you are right, but i’ll have to do some renders and a video so I would like to do it as realistically as possible (obviously in the limits)
for example for the fixings i simply wanted to put a cylinder in the nodes, or something like that, i dont know :slight_smile:

this could be a problem! ahah
Maybe with a split tree + mask, but i dont know…

Excuse me, I didn’t read threw the whole thread, but I just want to throw in a few design Options.

I worked for the facade company which “planned/constructed” the facade of the “Steve Jobs Theater”.

The Roof is 48m Diameter Carbon fiber reinforced plastic. 44 supporting glasses with 3x7,3m each. No auxiliary constructions, just the glasses.

Or for example one of the many apple flagship stores with glass columns. Could be a solution to your design Intention.

As mentioned, I don’t know for what your Building is or how big, but this might could be some “almost realistic” Solutions.


@tim.stark Thank you for the design tips, they are always welcome. Especially if given by an experienced professional.

Since we are here, could I ask for some advice?

I have design doubts about the details of the entrances and balconies.

How can the joint between the floors and the façade be resolved? I was thinking of creating a sort of frame around the opening , to trim the glass surface, but i dont know if it works.
Also because from a strictly aesthetic point of view it would take away the rest of the structure, which must remain the center of attention.

However, it is a problem that I have to solve in a not too long time, because the delivery of work is not long! :running_man::running_man::running_man:

AVOID at any cost (either in your Academic phase or later) that kind of stuff: A planar glazing is (or sould be) a stand-alone entity. Mixing with overhangs/protrutions yields problems and is aesthetically a no-no thing.

AVOID too much “detail” in such a small roof. Mies Van Der Rohe (the greatest ever) stated quite clearly: less is more. The contemporary blob trend in Architecture is the worst thing that happened to mankind … not to mention that in most of cases yields ultra kitsch topologies.

Here’s Mies (as a ghost) talking blob matters:

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Had a contact (under the influence of Spirits) with the Greatest Ever.

He said to me:

  1. The ultimate complexity is simplicity
  2. If you want trad openings … “break” the planar stuff in open curves and do something.
  3. Mastermind a policy for proportionally dividing curves in Lists.

He kindly provided the following indicative examples as well (Mies spoke C# several decades before the thing arrived to the masses):


Hi @PeterFotiadis

As for the floors that protruded, I adopted your advice, and I resized them, so the result is simpler and more aesthetically beautiful.

As for the shape of the roof, it is long enough to explain. Let’s say that the project required required a particular form, derived from the study of a concept of our choice. In this case the language required tends more towards the contemporary blob trend, as you have defined it, than towards the “less is more” style of Mies Van Der Rohe (who is however one of my favourite architect!).

In this sense we have obtained this form of the cover, which may or may not like, but these are tastes :wink:

Unfortunately, I have not yet tried the C# language in this regard. Do you think that it is strictly necessary to create an elaborate definition of this kind?

However, I have developed a definition that works quite well for the creation of the panels.
It is designed for a particular case, namely from an open curve, which is located within the ground footprint of a surface or polysurface; in addition, the edges of the curve must extend beyond the ground footprint of the above surface.
In this way the panel creation should always work correctly.
Unless there are problems with the original inputs…

The part relating to the panels is finished, while I still have to fix the part for the structure, but I almost managed to do it.

Meanwhile I publish the definition for the panels ready to be baked!
glass (911.0 KB)

PS there is some note in Italian and some clusters, but in general are explained almost all the steps so it should be possible to understand it.
PPS ther is a small bug in the definition ( there is a red panel) I can’t solve and i post a topic here:
Create biggest contour from coplanar curves (like curve boolean)
PPS I would love if you could sent me the code in C#
Thank you very much! :smiley:

Here the definition with the bug solved. :slight_smile:
glass (894.6 KB)

Yes for a vast variety of reasons. Just nominate one: At the end (and depending on the height, size, seismic stuff, Karma etc etc) you’ll end-up defining coordinate systems for placing things that resemble (up to some point) real-life components. For instance stuff like this (aplicable WHEN vertical (glass in your case) struts ARE NOT deployed for every panel: a very common case in our trade [ see the “every” variable in my screenshots] ):

Now I can hear you: but I’m a student and this is Academic. Well … this doesn’t mean that the solution would/should be 1M miles away from reality. Anyway after the diploma and when you’ll become a pro … maybe you gonna deal with stuff like this:

Back to far more simple things: The issue is that you can’t place items/objects like these without using Instance definitions (nested in fact) not only for the obvious BIG benefits when in GH … but mostly because you need an assembly/component organization when you depart from R/GH and start using a proper BIM app for actually dealing with the project.

Placing instances is NOT just pressing the magic red button mind … not to mention families of things like the above when the topology varies.

Addicionally dealing effectively with DataTrees for the myriad of cables required (unless you engulf each panel between 2 struts: no good + static solution) is 100 times easier via code than using components.

Addicionally when team-work … blah, blah, blah.

But all the above are 100% Academic: you can’t learn the ways of the Force (the Dark option) in just a few days … thus you should walk the component walk.

PS: I’ll remove some sensitive stuff from the C# used and I’ll post it here later on,

PS: Master Mies authorized me to restore Order in Architecture and reset Faith to the Holly Words (less is more, form follows function, minimalism, rationalism , modesty etc etc). A job for my birds of pray (the death birds in fact) that can eat plastic/metal/concrete/whatever on every ugly building that violates the Rules and bring death, despair and desolation … well … to anyone responsible (no pain no gain + no mercy + adios amigos).

Moral: Be prepared: the end of days is nigh.

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Here comes the pain: 4 C# that do something (load R file first): (145.9 KB)
Glass_facade_V1.3dm (4.0 MB)

The first 2 C# are NOT for you (some time in the future … who knows? he he). Thus use them solely for fun. The first is a simple thing that thickens a BrepFace the second does a primitive planal layout. From that I’ve removed about 1K lines of code that is strictly internal: as it is it does just a basic layout (struts and the glass panels). No wires, parts, nested instances etc etc. In general nothing like the stuff that I’ve posted first. I do hope that you understand the reasons: this is an Academic Forum and the solutions provided are just indicative directives having absolutely nothing to do with real stuff used in real life.

NOTE: DO NOT activate/enable the glass part until you are OK with the strut deployment. Reason is that the divisions refer ro the shortest curve and the rest are proportionally divided (meaning possibly BIG numbers). Info panel tells you things related with that matter.

NOTE: Due to the 1K lines massacre … it’s more than possible that some guard angels are removed. Let me know if the thing turns red or refuses to do things that it should.

The other 2 ARE FOR YOU: You can use them with any file that has instance definitions and place the hot stuff with 3 ways (using points, planes or a BrepFace where stuff is randomly placed using Plane.WorldXY.ZAxis). You can control the scale of things as well for decorative (say placing trees) or LOL purposes (try the pig or the birdofpray).

Here’s the BIG thing with instances: 279 trees placed in 5 milliseconds (the only delay MAY be due to your GPU: use a proper Nvidia Quadro and sky is the limit):

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Dear @PeterFotiadis t’s all veeeeery interesting for me.
Thank you very much for your support, the definitions and valuable links. As soon as I have a moment of time I experience a little!

At the moment I have to temporarily switch to other topics, always for the same project anyway…while we are there. have you experience with topological optimisation in architecure? Have you ever used the millipede plugin to build structures? I have used to it a little to do the structure but I have many curiosities on the more technical side, because I have proceeded to attempts to get to the result.
If so, perhaps I should open another thread about this ahah
I post something (from the internet, not my job) if you or someone else is interested in, i’ll post more.

  1. A link that’s introduce a little the topic:

  2. some space truss design and optimisation examples:

  3. Reference project: Qatar National Convention Center, Doha





Yikes + Yikes + Math.Pow(Yikes,Yikes)

  1. This er … hmm … ultra rational thing is 100% about the engineering aspect of the skin (i.e how to make double curvature sheets [titanium, alu, goat skin, whatever]) and 0% about all the rest (if any), Even within the Academic perspective is a very bad habit to dream things like these and not having any idea about the core of the matter.(i.e a myriad 1:1 details PLUS the dollar thingy). But if you insist I could provide a link to some NY based fellas who do things like these (using CATIA and Siemens NX) … for … some other fellas.
  2. Achitecture is a 2 way walk: Top to Bottom (I dream an engine but I don’t care about pistons, cams, valves et al) and Bottom to Top (I design an engine having mastered fully piston matters). It’s your take to pick one … and pay the price when at later time you’ll be a pro.
  3. I don’t use add-ons (other than Kangaroo) because (for a vast variety of reasons) whatever I do is “hand” made via code.

All in all: WHY?

Last chance to save your soul: Start dreaming this: