The Role of Two-Shell Facades in Enhancing the Visual Privacy of Residential Complexes in Tehran (An Analysis of the Mashrabiya Elements in the Old Architecture)

Document Type : Research Article


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Science and Arts University, Yazd, Iran.

2 Master of Architecture, Teacher of Department of Architecture, Science and Arts University, Yazd, Iran.


Problem statement: Privacy is one of the most important issues in housing design. Facades in architecture, the outer shell, and the main component of the building cover, have an effective role in creating visual privacy and preventing visibility into the house. The most important issues in the facades of contemporary residential complexes are the improper design of skylights and the lack of visual privacy in the house.
Research objective: This study, by examining Mashrabiya as an indigenous solution in the Middle East, introduces the historical background of this physical-spatial element and examines its role in creating visual privacy in the homes of this region. It also extracts the design features of Mashrabiya, a two-shell wall, and presents solutions for creating visual space. This study examines them in contemporary residential complexes of Tehran and analyzes how this indigenous technology has been used and modernized in the facades of these buildings.
Research method: This research is qualitative and its method is descriptive-analytical. The methods of data collection for this research were field and documentary (library). In this study, focusing on residential complexes in Tehran, 15 cases of houses with two-shell walls in the main facade were selected. In the following section, the effective components in the design of two-shell walls that have played an effective role in creating visual privacy were studied and analyzed in these cases.
Conclusion: Two-shell facades are commonly used for thermal comfort. Contemporary residential complexes have used this feature of two-skin facades, in addition to aesthetic and functional possibilities, as well as creating visual privacy for residents. Shape and form, location, type of opening, materials, and technology of two-shell facades have played an effective role in their performance and behavior. Studies show that the use of indigenous flexible materials such as wood and brick and the possibility of controlling the opening by users can create different functions and improve the visual privacy of two-shell facades in these houses.


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