Zahner Headquarters

Kansas City, US

Firm       Crawford Architects

Type       Industrial > Factory

Area       10,000 square feet

Year       2011

The Zahner Campus Headquarters features an undulating facade of aluminum, glass, and stainless steel. Zahner dubbed its exterior facade ‘Cloud Wall’. The curving surface is made of structural aluminum fins and ribs. ZEPPS, the patented process used to create custom curving surfaces, are used in projects around the world. Typically, ZEPPS assemblies consist of structural aluminum fins and ribs which are then clad in stainless steel, zinc, or any other building skin material.

Exterior views

Main criteria

The main focus of this exercise was to create the wavy facade:

  • A series of fins on surface
  • Fins separated with equal distance
  • Curved fins form wavy surface
  • Wavy surface from randomized and continuous extrusion of curved fins

Main component and parameters

Fins + Wavy surface

Fins parameters:

  • Thickness and extrusion depth of fins
  • Distance between fins

Curved surface parameters:

  • Dimensions of width and length of surface
  • Randomized points with various y values

Wavy surface

Pseudo Code

  1. Create a rectangular volume and divide surface
  2. Create pseudo random numbers perpendicular to surface
  3. Create curved surface from the random numbers
  4. Loft the curved surface and rectangular volume
  5. Divide the curved surface and extrude to create the gaps between the fins
  6. Create solid difference to subtract the gaps to generate fins on the curved surface

Stainless steel fins

Code Development

Facade Iterations




The Zahner Headquarters is a project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in Advanced Architecture in 2019/20 by

Student: Ka Man Lee

Faculty: Rodrigo Aguirre, Mohammad Elatab