Shanashil: A Sustainable Element to Balance Light, View and Thermal Comfort

By R. Vakilinezhad, S. Majid Mofidi and Mehdizadeh.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Shanashil is a material used in the vernacular architecture of some parts of Iran, especially Bushehr with a hot and humid climate. It is a projected space in building facades which provides cool shaded space. While providing cross-ventilation, view and privacy, the space is protected from harsh sunlight. In a hot and humid climate, cross-ventilation is a necessity for indoor spaces. This requires wide windows on building facades. On the other hand is the privacy for residents, especially for women in the Muslim lifestyle. As a result, such large openings should be screened so that one is able to see from within without being seen from outside. In response to these needs, decorative wood screens were created, providing both visual and thermal comfort. "Shanashil" has also become a decorative material over the time and acquired popularity and prestige. There were always some jars in this space used for the passive cooling of entering air, while providing cool water to drink. Similar material to this is "mashrabiya", which is a prominent feature of Arab architecture. In this article, various features of such material and its typology have been described, and then some of its environmental, cultural, economic, and social aspects of sustainability have been inspected. Most of all, its role in decreasing the hot air temperature using ventilation and evaporative cooling is discussed. Furthermore, the values of luminance have been compared between an ordinary wall and the wall with shanashil. We aim to learn the lessons offered by these superbly vernacular architectural materials and apply them in our current designs. As a result, at the end of the article some solutions for using this material in new buildings have been recommended.

Keywords: Shanashil, Passive Cooling, Sustainable Architecture, Vernacular Persian Architecture

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.101-110. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 809.028KB).

R. Vakilinezhad

Ph.D. Student, School of Architecture and Urban Studies, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

Rosa Vakilinezhad is a Ph.D. student in architecture at the University of Science and Technology. Her current research interests revolves around technological architecture, with the research field of intelligent and sustainable architecture. Her thesis for her M.Sc. degree was on technology and architecture, including the design of a botanical and research center, concerning sustainable architecture and through intelligent architecture. She is a member of Iranian Organization for Engineering Order of Buildings.

Prof. Dr. S. Majid Mofidi

Faculty member, School of Architecture and Urban Development, University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Tehran, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

Member of Official Faculty & Scientific Committee (since May 1986), Head of Department of Sustainable Architecture, (since Sept. 2003) and Principal of Energy & Architecture Research Lab (EARL), (since Jan.2003). Assistant Professor (21th Level), FT faculty member, School of Architecture & Urban Studies, in IUST (since May 1986). Have taught different courses in Ph.D.(9 Courses), MS.(15 Courses) and BS.(25 Courses) levels in Persian or English in many universities and institutions. Have published about 120 papers. Have supervised 14 Ph.D., 99 MS. and 11 BS. theses so far, and at the moment is supervising 11 Ph.D., 21 MS.theses. Have obtained more than 35 awards in different conferences.