Course Syllabus


Enrollment is limited for this course. 

Students must have completed all of the Architectural Technology (TECH) courses up to and including TECH5, and must submit a one page (maximum) Statement of Interest by email the week before the first day of class, but no later than Friday Sept 9th.  Statements of interest may include examples of the student’s previous technical curriculum work.  This class is offered as a course in the MArch program.  AAD students and students from other departments may apply but can only be accepted if space is available.   

Submit Statements of Interest directly to Prof. Vos at with A4634 in the subject line.


This course is intended for students wanting to focus and excel in the technical execution of custom curtain wall enclosures.  It will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the concepts, process, and skills necessary to design, detail, specify, and administer the construction of a custom curtain wall.  The course will be structured with a dual seminar / studio format.  Lectures for the seminar potion will inform the studio design project and vice versa. 

The primary focus of the course is the intensive, semester-long Technical Studio Design Project.  Students will design their own unique custom curtain wall, developing detail drawings and preparing outline specifications.  The projects will be developed over the course of the semester through Mini-Pinups that encourage peer-to-peer feedback, weekly individual crits with Prof. Vos, a mid-term pinup review, and a final end-of-semester pinup review. 

The Seminar Lectures will introduce key concepts to understand the first-principles of façade enclosure design and key performance features of unitized curtain wall systems.  The lectures will further explore the many material and aesthetic possibilities of curtain walls, explain design documentation methods and strategies, and review the various phases of the process through which custom curtain walls are designed, engineered, and built.  This will include discussions on contract documentation, forms of contract, the bid process, review of fabricator’s submittals and shop drawings, full-scale performance prototype testing, and fabrication and installation processes.  Case study examples will be used throughout the lectures to show real-world examples of the concepts presented. 

One class session will be held at Prof. Vos’s mid-town office in order to review material samples, mockups, etc.  If the semester permits, it is hoped that a field trip to a manufacturing facility or active construction site can be arranged. 

Class sessions are expected to be group discussions encouraging participation and contributions by all.  Students will be put in the position to provide critiques and comments on fellow students’ in-class pinups.  Class attendance and participation is of course essential.



Students must have completed the required Architectural Technology Classes up to and including AT5. 

Course Requirements

Student performance will be assessed based on class attendance and participation, the Technical Studio Design Project, home work assignments, and a mid-term and final exam/quiz. 

Grades will be determined as follows:

Class Attendance and Participation          20%

Technical Studio Design Project                 50%

Home Work/Assignments                            10%

Mid-Term and Final Exams                          20%


Reading and research assignments will be highly technical and may include excerpts from various publications, specifications, and manuals of the following organizations:

AAMA  (Architectural Aluminum Manufacturers Association)       

ASTM  (American Society for Testing and Materials          

NAAMM  (National Association of Architectural Metal Manufacturers)    

AA  (Aluminum Association)       

GANA  (Glass Association of North America)        

ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers

In addition to these, many other books, websites, and references of interest will be available on reserve in the library or as digital handouts. 


Professor Info

Daniel A. Vos is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia GSAPP where he has been teaching since 2004.  He is a Senior Principal at Heintges Consulting Architects & Engineers, a full-service firm offering state-of-the-art expertise on the design and construction of bespoke building envelopes to building owners and their architects. 

Vos is particularly keen on the detailing of façade systems – the art of bringing building components together well, so that the result enhances the architectural design and meets the performance goals for the project.  It is a process that brings together his broad interests: fundamentals of building physics, material properties, engineering, economic constraints, production techniques, fabrication methods, and installation means and methods; sustainability and resiliency goals that place architecture in the context of its environment; wellness goals that place building occupants at the center of the design process; and the formal aesthetic goals of modernism and efficiency, tempered by historical and cultural associations of architectural form. 

During his professional career, Vos has had the privilege to collaborate with marquee architectural design firms around the world:  structural glass facades such as Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and Julliard School in New York (Diller Scofidio Renfro); demanding museum facade designs at the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington DC (Adjaye Associates, et al) and the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens (Leeser Architecture); high-end flagship stores for Burberry, Tiffany, and Nike (with their global design teams, respectively); New York City’s first net-zero public school building in Staten Island (SOM); iconic residential developments such as Reflections and Corals in Singapore (Studio Libeskind); and towers that demarcate cities’ skylines such as 4 World Trade Center (Maki & Associates), 30 Hudson Yards (KPF), and 50 Hudson Yards (Foster & Partners).  He particularly appreciates having been part of the team for the historic renovation of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where Heintges were the Architect of Record for the facades.

Mr. Vos studied architecture in Paris and New York, is an alumnus of the Columbia GSAPP, and a registered architect.  He is regularly invited to speak at international façade conferences, is dedicated to the development of a more diverse and inclusive architectural profession, and an architectural community that engages and supports environmental policies as part of our everyday practice.

Students should feel free to contact Professor Vos at any time to arrange office hours.  Contact information is as follows:

Office Address:                 440 Park Avenue South 15th Floor 

  • Cross street is 30th
  • Subway access from Columbia is by 1, 2, or 3 train to 34th Street, exit at southernmost exit, and walk east to Park Avenue.

Telephone (office):          212-652-2966

Telephone (direct):          212-652-2993



Class Schedule and Outline




Lecture Topic

Assignments and Crits



Introduction to Custom Curtain Walls

Technical Studio Design Project Assigned



Performance Design

Pinup of Concept Design Sketches



Curtain Wall System Design

In Class Pinups and Individual Crits



Materials and Fabrication Processes I

In Class Pinups and Individual Crits



Materials and Fabrication Processes II

In Class Pinups and Individual Crits



Office Visit - Materials

Mid-term Exam/Quiz assigned



Midterm Review

Mid-term Pinup, Mid-term Exam/Quiz due



Prototyping - Full Scale Visual and Performance Mockups

In Class Pinups and Individual Crits



No Class - Election Holiday




Installation Means and Methods

In Class Pinups and Individual Crits



Specification and the Bid Process

In Class Pinups and Individual Crits



Shop Drawing Review and the Submittal Process

Final Exam/Quiz assigned, Individual Crits



No Class- Final Review Week

Final Project due, Returned with redlines



Final Review (Thursday)

Final Pinup, Final Exam/Quiz due.