Mashrabiya is a traditional kind of sun protection which is enclosed with wooden latticework. The aim of this project is to develop a method to design flexible Mashrabiya that can be extended to various climatic conditions (in this phase hot climate is considered). Providing daylight management as the main concern and ventilation, thermoregulation and privacy are of secondary importance.
External and internal view of traditional Mashrabiya
Climate strategies that must be followed by intelligent facades in hot climates
•    Main structure is made of three movable layers so as to create different opening sizes to control daylight flux 
•    Thickness of each layer < 5 mm , Spacing between layers < 3 mm
•    Lateral displacement between layers (relative to each others) < 80 mm
•    Mashrabiya pattern opening ratio: max > 0.45, min < 0.15 
•    Aesthetics inspired by traditional mashrabiaya patchworks
The movement of the layers are according to the location of the buildings, direction of the facade and sun path. However, the potential use of reflected light and ventilation in strong sunlight (by shifting three layers) is an advantage.
A schematic view of the first conceptual design with three layers
I designed different models by simultaneously taking into consideration how they would look like after layer movements. Thus, the combination of  direction, the magnitude of movements and the pattern of each layer can influence the appearance of the final product. Besides the aesthetic aspects, another important parameter, was the opening ratio of the window in different configurations. These opening ratios must be compatible with generally agreed upon standards. To evaluate my design in this respect, I used a MATLAB code to process my designs. At the end, geometrical modifications and manipulations were applied to the models and finally considering all the parameters some designs got selected.
I performed a simulation using Rhino to observe the effect of the designs on the interior sunlight. All the technical drawings are presented with AutoCad.
The renders for each model are comprise of three configuration of layers considering that first layer is fixed:
•    First configuration: When all the layers aligned with each other
•    Second configuration: When the second layer moves
•    Third configuration: When the second and third layers move 
A selected model based on its optimal design and data performance with layer movements in X,Y and XY axis
Rhino rendering of the selected model in three configurations
As final evaluation, a real scale physical model comprised of three movable layers was built to evaluate the results, test the mechanical system and to use for further studies.
Real scale physical model and its shadow effect during a summer day
Physical model pattern details in different configurations
Physical model pattern details in different configurations
later on in order to improve the function, movement and pattern variety, I designed one panel included 6 different patterns with the movement only in X-Y axis. The best open and close ratio among these patterns are %51 and %5. The Lateral displacement between layers is 80 mm.
M.Sc. Semester Projects I, II in Energy Management and Sustainability, EPFL | Fall 2011-Spring 2012
Title: “Design of a New Generation of Mashrabiya” With improved performance and flexibility (a climate responsive Mashrabiya for the flexible control of indoor daylight illumination and glare)
Supervisors: Prof. Marilyne Andersen and Dr. Boris Karamata
Design, simulations and analysis and visuals: Aida Shafei
Physical model funding and installation: LIPID | EPFL
Photography and video: Gerber Gerald

Please don't use images without permission
Back to Top