Thursday, April 11, 2013

CW Book Reviews

In this post, we'll review the curtain wall tutorials in two popular Revit books: Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013 (ISBN: 978-1-1181-7408-1) and Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013 Essentials (ISBN: 978-1-1182-4478-4) published by Sybex*.  Both books are written by the team of James Vandezande, Phil Read, and Eddy Krygiel.  At over 1000 pages, Mastering is an all-encompassing text that is intended to teach the reader most of the capabilities found in the software.  Essentials is one-third the size of Mastering and is written as a textbook for use in Revit classes or as a self-study guide.
Although I believe that both books should be entirely dedicated to curtain wall at the expense of all other Revit tools, both have sections dedicated exclusively to curtain wall.  For each title, readers will need to visit the publisher’s web site,, to download the support files for each chapter.
 Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013

A full 33 pages of chapter 13 (partially written by David Light) are dedicated to the Revit curtain wall tools.  As expected, It covers many of the basic curtain wall tools and techniques but then extends the subject matter into some of the less used, but often more useful, approaches to curtain wall modeling. 
The section begins with a set of definitions relevant to the CW industry and Revit then jumps right into creating and partitioning a curtain wall using the Curtain Grid tool.  The authors don’t stop at a simple grid pattern but add grid lines and mullions that are unique to a single vertical and horizontal run – as we have come to expect in the design of new buildings.
Adding curtain wall doors is quickly covered and corner mullions are discussed as well.
Much time can be saved when a common system type is used by defining a custom curtain wall type.  Mastering covers creating custom wall types and explains many of the settings available (Join Condition, Automatic Embed, etc.), but doesn’t include an exercise on custom curtain walls.  Custom curtain panels are described but exercises on non-pattern based custom panels and custom mullions would be helpful to anyone in the CW field.
Complex curtain walls, usually created in the conceptual phase of a project, are covered in depth including using conceptual shapes, non-orthographic patterns, and intersects.  Creating pattern-based families is covered with a few thorough exercises that cover pyramidal and hexagonal patterns.  Even scheduling of pattern-based panels is covered.
Overall, the amount of curtain wall related content found in Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013 is excellent and provides a solid foundation for anyone exploring the Revit curtain wall toolset and its many facets.  The only areas that should be expanded are the customization of mullions and scheduling of mullions, panels, and curtain wall doors.

Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013 Essentials

Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013 Essentials covers the basics of Revit’s curtain wall tool in eight concise exercises.  Each exercise is fairly short (2-4 steps) and follow a logical progression from curtain walls to grids and mullions then continues on to embedding CW's into other walls, editing the curtain wall profiles, and modifying curtain grid segments.  The "Essentials and Beyond" section, found at the end of every chapter in the Essentials series of books, challenges the reader with some complex curtain wall examples for him or her to figure out (skewed grid lines, curved curtain walls, etc.).  The solution to these challenges, and the other files needed to follow the exercises, can be downloaded from the book's web page at

*Disclaimer: I have done freelance work for Sybex/Wiley in the past, but was not involved in the production of these books and have not been engaged or compensated for this review or blog post.

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