Aluminium Mashrabiya | Mashrabiya Pattern | Mashrabiya Design

Aluminium Mashrabiya

Cultural beauty is maintained through simple or complicated designed fretwork called mashrabiyas. These structures provide good ventilation and works as a good natural air conditioner in case of power failures. Due to their design patterns they are resistant to high temperatures, therefore, they can be used anywhere.
These structures are ideal for interior designing a good office or home. Architects are able to provide a cooling and unique touch to any space using these features. Shading reflected from the Mashrabiya window patterns and jaili look extremely beautiful and unique.
Business or recreation places choose Mashrabiya screens or double façades to impart a sense of vibrancy and opulence to their visitors.
They also provide a source of natural light and also privacy
Social gatherings and events are enjoyed with help of Mashrabiya structures as well.


One thing that you can spot at any Arabic residence is a mashrabiya. A window screen made of timber, the traditional Arabic architecture has mashrabiya as a part of it, used both in the interior and exterior part of the house. One can rarely find mashrabiyas in rural areas, while mashrabiyas are abundantly found in urban areas. It had the strong root of an Arabic meaning a place for drinking. Cultural beauty is maintained through simple or complicated designed fretwork called mashrabiyas. These structures provide good ventilation and works as a good natural air conditioner in case of power failures.


History of Mashrabiya


The etymology of mashrabiya begins back in the 12th century at the capital of Iraq. Mashrabiyas that can be spotted at Arabic countries were built during the 1850s until mid-1900, but there are mashrabiyas with deep legacy. The existing example of an ancient household with mashrabiya is Beet El Razzaz at Cairo, Egypt. History had it that mashrabiyas were knocked down for renovation purposes in the Arabian area at the 1900s. Even though things were different at Baghdad where some people were disturbed because of the demolition and began to safeguard them. 


Mashrabiya’s Strength to Withstand Desert Climate


Mashrabiya has close connections with the harsh desert climate, and that’s the reason why mashrabiya is utilised the most. Arabic countries have intense heat and severe aridity. This problem demands a more smart solution to sustain life and exist. People tired of the heat from the desert and brought many solutions to resist the heat. One method was that heavy walls were used because people thought that through this way, the heat would lessen. 


Even though these walls were effective in reducing the heat since the walls absorbed cold temperature at night. But the problem with this technique is that the walls had tiny ventilation holes which resulted in dimly lit home. With mashrabiya, the problem was solved to a great extent by letting in enough light and prevented heat seeping in through the wall opening. With more of aesthetic charm, mashrabiyas provide sufficient gust of air into the room. 


Benefits of Mashrabiya


Being an indispensable part of Arabian culture, one great thing about mashrabiya is that it gives much needed private space to someone. One need not have to worry about being caught while staring individuals on the street. Normally people of such areas didn’t sleep in a particular room but instead opt for places that are cool enough to have a good night’s sleep. And people relied on mashrabiya to separate the spaces where they sleep. Due to their design patterns they are resistant to high temperatures, therefore, they can be used anywhere. Some people even used to keep water jars near the window so that air turns cold while it goes above the jar. 


These structures are ideal for interior designing a good office or home. Architects are able to provide a cooling and unique touch to any space using these features. Shading reflected from the mashrabiya window patterns and jaili look extremely beautiful and unique. Business or recreation places choose aluminium mashrabiya screens or double facades to impart a sense of vibrancy and opulence to their visitors.

They also provide a source of natural light and also privacy

Social gatherings and events are enjoyed with help of mashrabiya structures as well.


At Rainbow Aluminium we prepare intricate design aluminium mashrabiyas by laser cutting designs on aluminium or steel sheets and then welding or bolting them to frame structures which will be put together to form a larger screen.

Once again the choice of colors are endless with RAL series , anodized or Wood effects to choose from.


Mashrabiya Pattern - Where Tradition Meet Aesthetics

Primary Functions of Mashrabiya


The primary function of these structures is to regulate the sunlight entering an area. The facade allows cold air to pass through. It provides fresh vibes to the area covered. Along with environmental factors, cultural specifications like privacy aspects added to the popularity of the structures.


Visual privacy is one of the most critical functions of the structure. The lattice works enabled the occupants to watch the outside world without compromising their identity. They were used to create private spaces for women in many public places in Islamic countries.


The Materials Used For Making Mashrabiya


Aluminium Mashrabiya sharjah

Wood was the standard material for the manufacture of Mashrabiya. These wooden structures were lined with glasses of different colors, which enhanced its aesthetic value. Mainly walnut, pine, and breech woods were used in the construction of mashrabiyas. Locally available wood was least used, and imported woods of the kind as mentioned above were usually used.


Presently, metal lattice works are widespread in modern buildings. Aluminum is one of the best-suited metals for lattice works. The best example of metal mashrabiya pattern is Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Let us see in detail about the various models of Mashrabiya.


CNC-milled acrylic is also used in the manufacture of the lattice works. Mashrabiyas using marble and other stones are popular in countries like India, Spain, Iran, etc. Plaster is used in some areas of Egypt. Even bricks were used to make Mashrabiya in some regions of Egypt.


The Basic Structure of Mashrabiya


The whole structure can be divided into two parts, upper and lower. The lower section, below the eye level, has a comparatively close pattern with small openings to keep up the privacy. Whereas, the top part has broader mesh patterns to allow free flow of air and light.


The two main types of ornamentation found include stem, plant, flower depictions, and geometrical pattern depictions. The former is confined to be in use during the end of the nineteenth century, where the latter is a commonly seen pattern. The most common geometric Mashrabiya pattern followed is a pair of horizontal ornamentation followed by one vertical decoration.


Mashrabiya Pattern


aluminium mashrabiya

There are different unique patterns for Mashrabiya, which makes each of them distinct in case of design and functionality. Sadly there are no mentions of exact Mashrabiya pattern names noted and kept for future reference. This happened because the different models were pretty popular among the locals, and none of them thought that the Mashrabiya would ever go out of fashion.


The distance between the balusters and their diameter is the primary measurement that decides the various functionalities performed by a Mashrabiya. Simple geometric figures and calligraphic designs inspired by the holy book of the Quran were illustrated in many of the lattice works. The portrayal of any living organism is against the beliefs of the Muslim religion. Besides, the depiction of simple shapes and designs was comparatively easy for these handcrafted pieces.


Researchers identified some of the mashrabiya pattern and named them based on their characteristics. The Hexagon patterned mashrabiya have repeated varied sized hexagons to fill up the meshwork. The church design, which consisted of narrow balusters arranged vertically. The long balusters when turned look like legs of a dove.


Mymooni Patterns

Mymooni Mashrabiya pattern looks like a squared mesh with the perpendicular joining of pieces to create round openings in the center. The name Mymooni is given to the design as it was headed from Maymoniya, a town in Egypt.


Sahrigi Patterns

Sahrigi Mashrabiya patterns are square mesh that have wider openings and are seen on the upper portion of a mashrabiya. Balusters are place leaving enough gaps between one another. Sahgiri got its name from Sahrig town in Egypt.


Cross Patterns

The cross Mashrabiya pattern also called the saliby models, as the name suggests, made of round cylindrical balusters arranged like a wheel structure. The vertical, horizontal, and angle placement of balusters with identifiable round structures on meeting points are the highlighting features of these patterns. When in the hands of a skilled craftsman, many patterns are seen on the same Mashrabiya conjoined to create a visually pleasing artwork.


These patterns separate prominent windows from Mashrabiya, creating an identity to the structures. Depth ratio and perforation ratio are two essential terms when considering patterns of Mashrabiya. Perforation ratio is the ratio between the area of the hole to the whole area of the main structure. The depth ratio is the ratio between depth and width of single openings.


Now let us discuss in detail the mashrabiya pattern of some modern buildings like The Arab World Institute of France, Al Bahar Towers of Abu Dhabi, Doha Tower of Qatar.


The Arab World Institute


Designed by Jean Nouvel, the building stands as a perfect example of the adaptation of Mashrabiya to modern buildings. Technology inspired kinetic facades make the Mashrabiya different from the traditional ones. The large screen of repeating rectangular grids provide the perfect sun shading mechanism. The photosensitive shutters open and close the gaps of the facade to regulate the light passage through it. Technology and culture reflect simultaneously in the structure.


Doha Tower


Doha Tower is a skyscraper building from the same designer of The Arab World Institute, Jean Nouvel. The primary function of the Mashrabiya here is to reduce the effect of the high temperature of the Middle East. The butterfly-shaped geometrical Mashrabiya pattern is repeated all over the outer layer of the tower.


The dense layer serves as an aesthetic factor and also helps to reduce the temperature in the contained space. The inner glazed layer prevents the dust from entering the building and also adds to the thermal efficiency of the whole structure. The LEED lighting on each floor makes the building shine like a star in the night with vivid shades of colors radiating from it.


Al-Bahar Towers


The twin towers is a major landmark of the city of Abu Dhabi. All facades other than one in the north direction have solar shading devices attached along. Semi-transparent polytetrafluoroethylene panels open and shut according to the fall of light on them. The cooling load of the building was considerably reduced, which added to the reduction of carbon emission of the building.


Even when the revival of traditional architecture is facing many challenges than before, Mashrabiya remains to be a favorite choice of builders. Combining the new technological findings with classical architecture can help in innovatively preserving our tradition and culture. The unique identity that the mashrabiya pattern provides to the main structure is worth the challenges faced to install it.

Mashrabiyas are lattice works that decorate the balconies with beautiful artworks that are otherwise less noticed. The decorative veil is from the Arab culture and is now an integral part of all modern cultures. Various cultures have adopted Mashrabiya to their building designs, joining the particular culture’s unique styles. The structure is usually seen on the first floor of the building decorating both verandas facing inwards and outwards.


Islamic Art very much influences the mashrabiya pattern. The artistic wonder demands dedicated and brilliant craftsmanship. According to Islamic beliefs, the pictures of living things were to be depicted from artworks, and mashrabiya pattern were no different. The size and shape of these lattice works vary according to their functions.

Veiling Beauty Of The Orient – MASHRABIYA

Mashrabiya, also called Shanashil, is the best and most creative contribution of the Arab culture to the world. It won’t be an exaggeration to address Mashrabiyas as an architectural wonder. Mashrabiya can be thought of as a carved screen developed by the hands of a gifted craftsman beautifully dolling up your space.


The latticework usually occurs on the first floor of the building as a protruded window. The word Mashrabiya means “place of drinking” in Arabic, which points to one of its applications in the past. Clay pots containing water are kept inside Mashrabiya cases to cool the water inside by evaporation. Other applications include protecting space from direct sunlight, providing privacy, directing the view, etc.



Mashrabiya usually is rectangular in shape; the semi-cylindrical structured Mashrabiya was famous in Libya’s capital city, Tripoli. The veiling structure was used to create a social boundary assigning a dedicated area for women. It enabled them to peek outside the street or courtyard remaining hidden behind the shade of the element.




Mashrabiya is derived from the term “Sharab”, an Arabic term meaning to drink, and the only reason it became so is that earlier mashrabiya meant a place for the purpose of drinking water, and that too from a clay pot. But a much more meaningful etymology can be traced from the Arabic word “Mashrafiya”- to observe. But presently, the term has one and only meaning- wooden panels to form a grid.


History of Mashrabiya


The exact period of development of Mashrabiyas is unknown; however, buildings of the 12th century in Egypt serve as the oldest examples of it. Mashrabiya gained popularity in the Ottoman period, linking closely with the social and cultural lives of the Orient.




Mashrabiya became a part of many homes in the Middle East because it lessened the extreme heat in that area. This is merely not the reason why mashrabiya acquired popularity, but also because of staunch traditional Islamic notions that gave more prominence to privacy. Mashrabiya provided privacy among homes, but inside homes too. This caused mashrabiya to spread mainly in Islamic areas.


Over the years mashrabiya has undergone great changes, and in the beginning, mashrabiyas were only a part of palaces or homes but later on spread rapidly into mosques, hospitals, business spaces. 


Many literary works have citations of Mashrabiya in them, proving its strong influence in society. Mashrabiya is considered a derivative of the Muslim architecture, even then various cultures from different parts of the world adopted it by modifying styles matching their regional specifications, where function remained the same.


Last few decades witnessed a steep drop in the use of Mashrabiya due to various reasons like the industrial revolution, modern design concepts, time and cost factors, safety factors, etc. Still, the production of the elements is continued in several parts due to emotional factors to preserve heritage. The modern trend of culturally inspired designs can trigger the comeback Mashrabiya with a big bang.


Structure and function


Small single pieces of wood crafted and polished by hand are arranged together without the use of any adhesives or nails to build a large screen of a beautiful miracle. This process demands high patience and creativity to work within the limits of Islam believes preventing the design of any living creature. Simple objects, such as lamps etc. served as inspiration for most of the design works.


Designing patterns of Mashrabiya fulfilled all or most of the functions like regulating the flow of air and light, Provides light and shade, Cools the air passing through it, controls the view and increases privacy. Designs and space between the lattice works vary to meet particular functions. For example, if the opening is facing North direction, the light falling on the element won’t be much hot, and so the mesh can be wider on top to let the fresh air pass through and closer on the bottom for privacy reasons.




One of the most significant advantages of Mashrabiya to the building is that it lights up dead corners space, making full use of the area. A street with homes that have Mashrabiya on both sides of it adds aesthetic value and improves the human interface of the region. Hexagon shaped designs with varying sizes are common patterns for Mashrabiya. Woods like Mulberry, Guava, Ebony, Oak, etc. that had varying ornamental colors served as the base for Mashrabiya.


Mashrabiya has an abundance of functions, which makes it the most preferred material when considering its various patterns. Reducing light that seeps into a building, thus lessening the temperature inside, keeps control of the amount of air from outside, thus raising moisture content in air are some of the main functions which make it worthy.


Above all these functions, Aluminium mashrabiya also had a function of decoration. If watched closely, you can notice that a mashrabiya is designed intelligently. Moreover, placing a mashrabiya makes a room feel much larger than before. But don’t think that placing mashrabiya restricts air circulation. The openings are such that it enables ventilation. The openings above and below a mashrabiya allow hot and cool air circulation.


Basra, the city of Mashrabiya


Basra is one of the largest cities in Iraq, away from its capital city and famous for incubating and nurturing “the hanging silk”. The late nineteenth century and early twentieth century marked the use and popularity of interlaced works in Iraqi society. Wood and colored glass were used for making Mashrabiya of the Iraqi style. 



Imagine a night where all lights of the house are turned off, and the street light passes through the differently colored glass through creating a rainbow in your balcony, happy faces weaving vivid dreams under these lights. The current state of several such buildings that absorbed this beauty is devastating; they are on the verge of the destruction resulted from continuous wars.


Common places of its application


Early-stage applications of these elements were limited to desert homes and structures in the hot climate. As wood is a costly affair in construction, palaces and high profile buildings used it in common. With Globalization, the beauty of Mashrabiya crossed the borders and sea to spread its glory all over the world. Different cultures adapted these elements in their indigenous styles. Mashrabiya is widely used in the following building structures.


  1. Private places like Orient Palaces
  2. Traditional home balconies
  3. Religious structures like Mosques and Madrasas
  4. Public places like hospitals, schools, museums
  5. Semi-public places like caravansaries


Present-day buildings using Mashrabiya


Mashrabiya has acquired a new face with improvised practicality. The Oxygen Villa (2012) used the latticework as an adaptive layer that adjusts the openings based on the direction of light. Qatar’s Doha Tower has a metal latticework that controls heat and light flow into the building, additionally protects the glass from grit buildup. Below is the list of some structures in the Middle East that used brilliant use of the latticework.


  1. The Doha Tower (Burj Qatar), 
  2. Louvre Abu Dhabi
  3. The Institut du Monde Arab in Paris
  4. Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi
  5.  Al-Bahar Towers, Abu Dhabi


The veiling structure is often misunderstood by the ones seeing or hearing it for the first time as a symbol of male dominance where the woman is only allowed to stay behind the Mashrabiya and make no contribution to the social developments. The aesthetic and functional properties are so convincing that they rule out all the drawbacks.




Aluminium mashrabiya is a rare combination of aesthetics and practical usage. Mashrabiya is a complete solution to those people who face privacy issues. Aluminium facade designs come in a variety of designs, with which you can make a space both unique and appealing. In fact, mashrabiya designing and installing in itself is an art. Among the numerous benefits of Aluminium mashrabiya, one feature that stands out is its aesthetic beauty. Beyond regulating extreme climatic conditions, aluminium mashrabiya has its own beauty that no other shielding material can offer.


Benefit Over Traditional Mashrabiya


Even though the traditional method was an effective solution to all environmental-related problems, later on, it lost its effectiveness. A traditional mashrabiya in your home means more expense for production and maintenance thereafter. Moreover, making a traditional mashrabiya means putting your heart and soul into the highly-skilled work. With that, traditional mashrabiya is easily prone to catch fire mainly because of the material with which it is made-wood. This made traditional mashrabiya lose its value with time.


Why Choose Aluminium Mashrabiya from Rainbow Aluminium?


With the diminishing value of traditional mashrabiya, the mashrabiyas manufactured these days have changed its design and material with which it is made. Aluminium mashrabiya is the game changer now, made so as to cover spacious areas and be a part of tall buildings. This Aluminium mashrabiya makes any space look brighter and look luxurious. Try Mashrabiya from Rainbow Aluminium.

Related Blogs
Why Should You Choose Aluminium Kitchen Cabinet for a Stylish Architecture?

Nowadays, Aluminium kitchen cabinets are the most sought after option for kitchens. You have a myriad of colour options, styles and designs to choose from, that best suit any home

Door Handle – Function, Types, Materials | Rainbow Blog

  Most of the people think that there isn’t much variation between types of door handles. But they’re unaware that there are various types of door handles, where each door

Sliding Door – The New Architectural Beauty Ad-On to Modern Buildings

A sliding door is a type of door that you can open or close by sliding through a track. Normally a sliding door is either suspended from a track or


Let's Talk

We provide the best estimate and onsite survey for you.

Call to book your appointment now on +971 6 743 6914