Inside the newly built Beijing Workers' Stadium, sunlight pours through the brand-new domed curtain wall, and workers are skillfully maintaining the green lawn.

"With this curtain wall, the audience no longer has to worry about being rained." Li Xiangnan, the architect of the building curtain wall, speaks with confidence. The dome curtain wall above the venue is the result of six months of hard work by Li Xiangnan and his colleagues, from drawing, to material selection, to installation and construction, condensing the efforts of nearly 6 curtain wall designers.

The curtain wall is the outer wall envelope of the building, independent of the main building, similar to the "clothes" of the building. Building curtain wall designers, in Li Xiangnan's words, are people who tailor for buildings.

Good at "threading needles"

The Great Wall Hotel built in 1984 on the banks of the Liangma River in Beijing is the first building in China to use glass curtain wall, and the curtain wall has slowly developed in China since the 80s of last century... Introducing the history of the building curtain wall, Li Xiangnan told the story of several family treasures.

The years of Li Xiangnan's practice are a period of rapid development of curtain wall architecture in China. "With the increasing number of high-rise buildings, the need for personalized 'dressing' also increases." Li Xiangnan introduced that Shanghai Center, Canton Tower, CCTV New Building, Wuhan Greenland Center... The curtain wall is giving more and more urban buildings a "colorful neon clothes".

How to "tailor" the building in order to be both beautiful and meet the functions of structural safety, fire prevention, energy saving, etc., which is a great test of the wisdom and skills of the "tailor".

"Since he is a 'tailor', architectural curtain wall designers need to be good at 'threading needles'." Li Xiangnan said that they must know the types and properties of curtain wall materials, master professional knowledge such as architecture, mechanics, civil engineering, and proficient in software design.

The design of the new work curtain wall that Li Xiangnan participated in was a very challenging project.

Standing in the audience area of the new building, you can clearly see the neat and regular geometric structure curtain wall supported by the metal skeleton. "The curtain wall of the new building consists of three parts: ventilation fixed wings, polycarbonate sheet roofing and polycarbonate sheet eaves." Li Xiangnan introduced that if glass is used, its weight will far exceed the bearing limit of the main body of the building. Polycarbonate sheet is lightweight, and also has the function of blocking ultraviolet rays and heat insulation, making it an ideal curtain wall material for stadiums. Li Xiangnan, who usually does not speak much, talks about the curtain wall design and talks endlessly.

"The curtain wall is equivalent to the business card of the building, and with the development of the city, the requirements for the appearance of the building are getting higher and higher." Li Xiangnan believes that the development prospect of the building curtain wall industry is broad, and the requirements for curtain wall designers are getting higher and higher.

Go deep into the field to solve problems

"Don't underestimate this architectural coat, there are many mysteries hidden in it." Li Xiangnan said that for example, completing the system design of the curtain wall requires many processes to coordinate.

For large buildings, the overall scheme of the curtain wall should also be converted into construction drawings and process drawings, and split into many small drawings. The building materials used in the curtain wall, from the main body and skeleton of the curtain wall, to a screw, need to be disassembled by the designer and marked the exact size of the material.

Li Xiangnan introduced that some large curtain walls cannot be assembled and installed at one time, and there is uncertainty in the construction process. Even if the building curtain wall designer has carried out sufficient sand table deduction in the early stage, it is still necessary to go to the construction site to make specific adjustments according to the field situation and fully communicate with the construction team.

Li Xiangnan has been "soaking" on the construction site all year round, while running in various processing plants, from component assembly to material traceability, from construction and installation to quality inspection, he allows accurate production standards to penetrate into the details. "Only by going deep into the construction site and cultivating a familiar 'feel' can we grasp the pain points and difficulties of construction and create more innovative results." He said.

As a building curtain wall designer, the most rewarding thing is that the drawings are perfectly presented, adding a beautiful landscape to the city. "Every time I see the completion of a project I am involved in, the sense of accomplishment that I feel in my heart is the biggest motivation to persevere." Li Xiangnan said.

Enhance career impact

Li Xiangnan's office platform for Beijing Jianghe curtain wall system engineering designers, designers are preoccupied with using drawing software to draw 3D drawings, and the entire office can only hear the sound of computer keyboards.

Li Xiangnan's studio has a total of 13 people, of which 1 are young people who have been employed for about 3 year, and the rest are old colleagues who have cooperated for more than 10 years. As the head of the studio, Li Xiangnan is responsible for the overall scheme design. "We have worked together for many years and we all know each other's work styles and abilities. Based on a high degree of team understanding, work efficiency can be maximized. He said.

How to train new people? "We adopt the method of passing on the help, with 1 master and 1 apprentice." Li Xiangnan introduced.

The 22-year-old Yu Xulong is one of the three young people in the team, and he has been involved in 3 large-scale projects such as the Okunda Building and the New Works under the leadership of his master for 8 months. "I mainly use CAD software to make machining drawings of building materials." Yu Xulong said that drawing drawings is not difficult for mechanical graduates, and it is very fulfilling to see the drawings they have made become beautiful and practical curtain walls on buildings.

In Li Xiangnan's view, the architectural curtain wall designer industry belongs to cross-professional interdisciplinary disciplines, and graduates of civil engineering, mechanics and mechanical majors can all engage in this industry. "But success in this industry depends on everyone's understanding and concentration." Li Xiangnan said that in the case of drawing and processing drawings, the dimensions of components should be accurate to millimeters, which is a special test of concentration.

For young people who have just joined, they need to sink their hearts and slowly learn and accumulate, and they can have basic post competence in about 3 years, and become relatively mature designers in 5 to 8 years.

In 2021, architectural curtain wall designers were included in the new career information jointly issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and other departments, and their work content was accurately described: engineers and technicians engaged in the creation or creative work of decorative skin of building curtain walls and similar curtain walls, and drawing decorative skin drawings of curtain walls or similar curtain walls.

"There is a gap in building curtain wall designers. According to the total output value of 2020 billion yuan in 4900, it is necessary to match 10,<> mature curtain wall designers. Li Xiangnan said that with the development of the building curtain wall industry becoming faster and faster, it is hoped that more universities will pay attention to the training of relevant talents and provide more applicable talents for the industry.

The state has listed architectural curtain wall designers as a new profession, which is conducive to expanding the influence of the profession and attracting more talents to join the industry. Li Xiangnan said: "It is expected that the building curtain wall designer industry will become more and more standardized. At the same time, I also hope to work with my team to create more high-quality products. ”

(Economic Daily, Liu Rong)