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What is Wood lattice Screen?
Moroccan wood lattice screens also known as Moroccan latticework , Moroccan wood grills, Moorish screens , mousharabi , mosharabi , Mashrabiya , Meshrebiya , mushrabiyah , Meshrebeeyeh , mashrebeeyeh , mashrebeeyah , Moucharabieh , moucharaby , Musharabie , musharabia or Shanashil (Arabic:مشربية or شناشيل) is the Arabic term given to a type of projecting oriel window enclosed with carved wood latticework located
on the second storey of a building or higher, often lined with stained
glass. The mashrabiy (sometimes shanshool or rushan) is an element of
traditional Arabic architecture used since the middle ages up to the
mid twentieth century. It is mostly used on the street side of the
building; however, it may also be used internally on sahn side.
were mostly used in houses and palaces although sometimes in public
buildings such as hospitals, inns, schools and government buildings.
They are found mostly in the mashriq – i.e. east of the Arab world, but
some types of similar windows are also found in the maghrib (west of
the Arab world). They are very prevalent in Iraq,
the Levant, Hejaz and Egypt. They are mostly found in urban settings
and rarely in rural areas.
There is no point in history that can be dated as the first time they
appeared; however, the earliest evidence on use of the Mashrabiya as it
currently is dates back to the twelfth century in Baghdad during
the Abbasid period. Whatever is left in Arabic cities is mostly built
during the late nineteenth century and early to mid twentieth century
although some Mashrabiyas can be found that are three or four hundred
years old. Unfortunately, very few are restored.
One of the major features of the Mashrabiya is for privacy, an
essential aspect of Arabic culture. A good view of the street can be
obtained by the occupants without being seen, preserving the private
interior without depriving the occupants from a vista of the public
outside. The Moroccan wood lattice screen with openable windows gives
shade and protection from the hot summer sun while allowing the cool
air from the street to flow through. The designs of the latticework are
usually with smaller opening in the bottom part and larger openings in
the higher parts, hence causing the draft to be fast above the head and
slow in lower parts. This provides a significant amount of air moving
in the room without causing it be uncomfortable. The wood itself
absorbs the humidity from the air. The projection of the Mashrabiya
achieves several purposes, on one hand it allows air from three sides
to enter, even if the draught outside was parallel to the house façade;
on the other hand it serves the street and in turn the neighborhood. A
row of projected Mashrabiyas provides shelter for those in the streets
from rain or sun. The shade in normally narrow streets will cool the
air in the street and increase the pressure as opposed to the air in
the sahn, which is open to the sun making it more likely that it would
flow towards the sahn through the rooms of the house. The Mashrabiya
also provides protection and shade for the ground floor windows that
are flat and usually unprotected.