“Curtain Wall: This non-load-bearing wall was first made possible with the introduction of the structural steel skeleton in the Carson Pirie Scott store (Chicago, 1899-1904). Years later, Walter Gropius acknowledged that in ‘modern architecture the wall is no more than a wall or climate barrier, which may consist of glass if maximum daylight is desirable.’ As a result, in 1925-1926, he created the workshop wing for the Dessau Bauhaus which became the precursor to the characteristic glass box building of the International Style. See bearing wall.”
Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.