Architectural Glazed Facades building London 2012 with SolidWorks


Innova Systems customer, Architectural Glazed Facades Ltd, design, manufacture and install complex high quality architectural glazing for the commercial building market. The company designs, manufactures and installs curtain walling, roof glazing and associated products.

Recent projects include the Stratford City Link Bridge (AGF’s first venture with SolidWorks) and the London 2012 Velodrome.

While the company had been considering their move to 3D for some time, the real trigger for Architectural Glazed Facades Ltd was the requirement to create complex geometry for the Stratford City Link Bridge project.

Without SolidWorks, AGF’s tender would have included many more design hours, increasing the necessary budget and time whilst hindering their tender application as a result. Not only did SolidWorks give AGF the ability to submit a competitive tender, but it also allowed them to present their proposal in an accessible, attractive way. Stunning animations created straight out of SolidWorks demonstrated the design to the prospective client from a high level overview right down to intricate cross-section views.

The ease of use of SolidWorks meant that the designers were confident enough to take a workstation into a tender meeting, open their design in SolidWorks and make changes on the fly. The impact this had in such highly competitive situations was clear – it demonstrated the company’s flexibility and ability to deliver.


The Stratford City link bridge involved multiple facets positioned at complex angles - A job that would have been time consuming and error prone in 2 dimensions. Working alongside Innova Systems Engineers, Senior Design Engineer Gavin Hutton devised a technique using SolidWorks top down design methodologies to create a complete facade assembly, but enable it to be reproduced quickly and easily into different configurations along the span of the bridge, saving days of work. Importantly, this project alone proved that SolidWorks could deliver on its promises.

All projects involve working closely with architects, so the ability to use DWG information as SolidWorks driven sketches to position the facades is critical. If the Drawings from the architects change, then all the position of the related facades update automatically. Once again, saving days of time and guaranteeing that the work from AGF will be correct.

The Olympic Velodrome

The Velodrome is the most sustainable venue in the 2012 Olympic Park terms of design and construction. The design of the venue makes optimal use of natural light, reducing the need for electric lighting. Here, the designers at AGF use SolidWorks in internal meetings to communicate their designs. More accessible to people without an engineering background, they find it much easier to help people visualise a design than with 2D drawings. This comes from the ability to manipulate a model to create 3D walkthroughs of a design.

As the company works closely with many different architectural companies, Gavin, says that “being able to move files between different CAD systems was definitely a key factor when it came to choosing our solution. SolidWorks’ open ability to read and export a whole host of 3D and 2D file types made SolidWorks the clear choice in our move to 3D.”

All architectural companies have to comply with very stringent building regulations and CWCT standards – many of which surpass ordinary BS and ISO guidelines. While written FEA tests are still required by regulatory bodies, AGF use Simulation Xpress (available in SolidWorks Standard) to give them piece of mind before sending off a design for formal FEA. Time after time, they have found that any design that passes a simulation study in SolidWorks is sure to pass the formal tests.

Here we have another architectural company seeing great benefit from their implementation of SolidWorks. The broad range of file types supported by SolidWorks, its ease of use, its ability to create stunning visuals and its simulation tools mean that SolidWorks really can release additional potential in companies that design complex architectural features.


To find out what 3D design can do for you, call Innova Systems on 01223 200690


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