Thursday, August 25, 2016

Inserting Curtainwall Doors as Embedded Curtainwalls

Revit handles curtainwall doors differently than it handles regular doors.  Normal doors are Revit elements that require hosting by a standard wall.  Curtainwall doors, however, are treated as curtainwall panels and substituted for a standard panel between curtain grids.  When designing curtainwall doors, there can be an enormous number of frame and doors style combinations to consider and a CW door library containing all of those combinations can get quite large and time consuming to create.


On a recent project, I came across this method used by Dave Jones, the owner of Drafting and Design Plus (  Dave creates the curtainwall door frames as individual curtainwall types and then embeds that CW in a single panel space within an existing CW.  He then inserts a CW door as the lone panel within that embedded curtainwall.  Keeping the doors and frames as separate elements allows any combination of doors and frames to be created and each will flex properly when the host curtainwall’s grids change.


This exercise will go over the method of creating a new curtainwall type, containing the door frame, embedding it into existing curtainwall, and then inserting doors.  In practice, you may need to vary the mullion design depending on how you define the face of the curtainwall system – Face of glass, face of system, face of frame, centerline of wall, etc.


1.   Start by creating a new curtainwall.  The size doesn’t matter but making it approximately the size of a door will aid in visualization during the process.

2.  With the curtainwall selected, click Edit Type then click Duplicate in the Type Properties dialog box.  Give the new curtainwall type a descriptive name that identifies the type of door frame then click OK in both of the open dialog boxes.

3.  The next step is to create the profiles for the frame.  Click the Application button > New > Family.

4.  Open the Profile-Mullion family template.

5.  Create the desired vertical profile. Add parameter driven dimension values to make the process of changing the shape quicker and allow for multiple types of the same profile if required.  This profile will be used for the vertical mullions in this exercise.

6.  Click the Family Types button in the Modify tab’s Properties panel to open the Family Types dialog box.  Click the New button then give the new mullion profile type a new, descriptive name.  This allows you to contain both of the profile definitions within one profile.  Click OK to close of the Name dialog box.

7.  In the Family Types dialog box, change the parameter values to reflect the shape of the new profile.  This will be the door header profile.  Click OK to close the dialog box.

8.  Save the profile family then load it into the curtainwall project.
9.  The profile is in your project but it hasn’t been defined as a mullion yet.  In the project file, click the Mullion button from the Architecture tab’s Build panel.

 10.  Select any of the Rectangular Mullion options then click Edit Type.  In the Type Properties dialog box click Duplicate then rename the mullion.  Click OK to close the Name dialog box.

11.  In the Type Properties dialog box, click the down arrow for the Profile parameter then select the profile for the vertical door frame members.

12.  Click Duplicate again then rename the new mullion.  From the Profile dropdown, select the profile for the door frame header.  Click OK to close the Type Properties dialog box.
13.  Select the CW then click the Edit Type button in the Properties palette.

Under the Vertical Mullions category, the Border 1 Type and Border 2 Type values define the profiles that appear at the left and right jamb conditions respectively.  Under the Horizontal Mullions category, the Border 1 Type and Border 2 Type values define the profiles that appear at the sill and head conditions respectively.  In both cases, the Interior Type value defines the intermediate mullions.         

14.  In the Type Properties dialog box, click in the down arrow for the Vertical Mullions’ Value column of the Border 1 Type.  Select the mullion for the door frame vertical.  Repeat this step for the Border 2 Type.

15.  Click in the down arrow for the Horizontal Mullions’ Value column of the Border 2 Type.  Select the mullion for the door frame header.  Click OK to close the Type Properties dialog box.

16.  Create a new curtainwall in the project, using the Curtain Wall 1 type, the add curtain grids leaving spaces for a single and a double door.

17.  Select the two panels where the doors belong then, from the Properties palette, click the element dropdown arrow and select the curtainwall type that contains the door frame.

18.  The panels are substituted with embedded CW’s, with preexisting frames, which flex with the size of the door opening.

19.  The next step is to add the curtainwall doors to the curtainwall.  If necessary, click Load Family from the Insert tab’s Load from Family panel.

20.  Navigate to the Doors folder from the elements that ship with Revit then select the Door-Curtain-Wall-Single-Glass and Door-Curtain-Wall-Double-Glass families.  Notice in the preview that neither door includes a frame.  Click Open to load the families.

21.  Use the Tab key to select the single door panel within the embedded curtainwall.  Click the dropdown arrow in the Properties palette then select the single curtainwall door family,

22.  Repeat the process with the double door panel choosing the double door family.

Curtainwall doors now replace the panels in the embedded curtainwalls.

This is a great method for creating framed CW door libraries without have to create a vast library of every door and frame combination.