Performance Evaluation For a Digital Prefabricated Perforated Screens Inspired by Mashrabiya in San Antonio




Alkhatib, Refaa

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This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of Mashrabiya screens, traditionally used in the Middle East to alleviate hot and arid climates. Four screens with varying thicknesses and opening sizes were designed and fabricated with Styrofoam material using Rhino and CNC technology. Two experiments were conducted to test their performance: lab testing in front of a fan with three air velocities, and outdoor testing with continuous data monitoring for temperature, relative humidity, and light intensity for at least 48 hours for each screen, as well as without any screens. Schlieren visualization was conducted for two of the screens to understand air movement throughout the screens. The study found that open hung windows without screens allowed a lot of air to enter the room while holding exterior temperatures and humidity inside. Perforated screens were able to control the indoor environment on different levels for each screen. The screen with 30% perforation and 4" thickness achieved the best performance, distributing air inside the room, moderating the inside temperature, and distributing light throughout the whole room. However, high interior humidity levels were reached for all screens tested outdoors, highlighting the need for further investigation to optimize their performance in such conditions. The study sheds light on the potential of Mashrabiya screens for passive cooling in hot and humid climates and underscores the value of new technologies and digital fabrication techniques in enhancing traditional architectural elements. Future research directions are suggested to improve screen performance in high humidity conditions.



Digital fabrication, Mashrabiya, Natural Ventilation, Passive cooling, Performance, Vernacular Architecture