Metal engineering and fabrication firm A. Zahner Co. is giving architects the ability to design custom metal façades and price their creations in real-time, rethinking the often-reductive process of value engineering. In an interview with ARCHITECT earlier this week, company CEO and president Bill Zahner discussed the new ShopFloor software suite and its inaugural CloudWall tool, which lets designers create a custom Cloud Wall façade—which first appeared on his company’s Kansas City, Mo., headquarters—for their own projects. The company plans to add more tools in early 2014, including one for creating and designing perforated panels for small-scale jobs as well as one to optimize the process of ordering and pricing curtainwall façades.

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