The Pinnacle 
The Pinnacle  

The design of this building was heavily informed by the context in which it is sited. Constricted on three sides by steep slopes, the form took on a wedge shape to provide access to this rocky pinnacle-like ridge. Because the building needed to be over 375 feet (11 km) long to fit on the site, the design team chose to bifurcate the form into a masonry building (that is half subterranean on the west side) with a punched window vocabulary, and a glass building that is cradled by the masonry.

The natural landscape consists of muted red-browns and tans, which directed our choice of concrete masonry block as a material. The architects took advantage of the contrasts available between burnished block and precision block to highlight these colors and create a cut earth-like texture.

Also, in order to accentuate color and texture, the design team chose to alternate 10-inch (254-mm) wide block with 8-inch (203-mm) wide block to create shadow lines and strong horizontals, so the building didn’t loom above the ridge it sits on. In addition to the earthy, textured concrete masonry, the architects also used traditional concrete masonry units with modular glazed tile cladding as a compliment to the green glazed window wall. CMD 





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Concrete masonry curtain walls can be designed to span either vertically or horizontally between supports.

They can also incorporate reinforcement to increase lateral load resistance and the required distance between lateral supports. 

Anchors used to provide lateral support must be sufficiently stiff in the out-of-plane direction to transfer lateral loads to the frame and be flexible enough in-plane to allow differential movement between the curtain wall and the frame. In addition, Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures (TMS 402/ACI530/ASCE5) includes specific corrosion-resistance requirements to ensure long-term integrity of the anchors, consisting of AISI Type 304 stainless steel or galvanized or epoxy coatings. Anchors are required to be embedded at least 1½ in. (38.1 mm) into the mortar bed when solid masonry units are used (ref. 1) to prevent failure due to mortar pullout or pushout. Because of the magnitude of anchor loads, it is also recommended that they be embedded in filled cores when using hollow units. As an alternative to completely filling the masonry core, this can be accomplished by placing a screen under the anchor and building up 1 to 2 in. (25 to 51 mm) of mortar into the core of the block above the anchor.

For both concrete and steel frames, the space between the column and the masonry should be kept clear of mortar to avoid rigidly bonding the two elements together. The following figures show curtain wall attachments to concrete and steel frames.

For more information on curtain walls see NCMA TEK 5-6A Concrete Masonry Curtain and Panel Wall Details available free on NCMA member sponsoring web sites. See for sponsoring members and links to their e-TEK sites.