Creating a Curtain Wall

Reference Number: KB-01810
Last Modified: January 10, 2020

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


How can I create a commercial front with a curtain wall in Chief Architect?

Exterior view of shop from road with curtain walls


A curtain wall is an exterior wall that encloses the space within, but is not load-bearing. Often, the term "curtain wall" specifically refers to glass walls such as those found on store fronts. Curtain walls are typically used on commercial buildings; however, they also have residential applications - for example, sun-rooms or indoor swimming pools.

This article will explain how to create a simple curtain wall with a commercial awning in Chief Architect.

To create the curtain wall

  1. First, set up the default settings by selecting Edit> Default Settings , select Plan from the category list and click Edit.

    General Plan Defaults with Ignore Casing for Opening Resize checked

  2. Check the Ignore Casing for Opening Resize checkbox, then click OK to return to the Default Settings dialog.

  3. Next, select Window and click Edit to display the Window Defaults dialog.

    In X12 you, can also use fixed doors to accomplish the curtain wall with those defaults being under Door> Fixed Door. The same steps will apply for windows and fixed doors.

    Window Defaults dialog with Minimum Separation value set to zero

  4. Change the Minimum Separation value to 0", click OK, then Done to close the dialog.

  5. If you haven't already, draw a wall then place a window and modify it to your preference. Don't worry about the exact placement at this time.

    For the purposes of this example, the following specifications are used:

    • Change the Window Type to Fixed Glass.

    • Width of 60", Height of 107", and Floor to Top of 107".

    • Both interior and exterior casings and sills are suppressed.

  6. Once the window is placed, navigate to 3D> Create Orthographic View> Cross Section/Elevation  and create an elevation of the front of the building.

    Floor Plan view showing first window placed and elevation view camera facing wall with window

  7. Finally, select the first window and move it to butt against the left-most edge of the wall, then click Multiple Copy  edit button, Multiple Copy Interval edit button right after, and then set the General Objects Primary Offset to match the width of our windows. Then, click and drag the window to the right, to create enough copies to span your wall.

    For this example, a value of 60" is used.

    Window copied across wall using Multiple Copy tool at 60 inch Primary Offset

To add an awning and other details

  1. Place a glass door, select View> Library Browser  to open your Library Browser, and proceed to navigate to an awning from the Chief Architect Bonus Catalog titled Exterior Commercial Awnings

    Note: To download Manufacturer and Bonus catalogs like the one mentioned above, please see the Obtaining Library Content knowledge base article in the Related Articles section below. 

  2. Place the awning into position to complete the curtain wall. You may wish to change the width of this awning in your floor plan view to fit the width of your windows.