Design of Shading Screen Inspired by Persian Geometric Patterns: An Integrated Structural and Daylighting Performance Evaluation

Niloufar Emami, Anahita Khodadadi, Peter Von Buelow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Shading screens have been used as daylight control systems, which also play a role as design elements of transparent facades. A façade’s configuration can be an explicit representation of its functions. There are multiple functions within a building and sometimes a dominant function imposes one configuration to the whole system; in this case, a replicated geometry that is used for the shading screen. In contrast, by grading the screen’s geometry, there is a response to each individual programmatic function according to the interior space of the building [1].We propose a functionally graded shading system that responses to different programmatic building functions. In this study, some geometric patterns, widely used in Persian historical ornamentations, have been chosen as the underlying geometry for shading screens.
Geometric ornamental patterns are based on mathematical concepts, which are implemented on regular shapes of a certain arrangement. In general, such configurations have three geometric characteristics that have raised the tendency of employing the geometric patterns in ornaments of shading screens, facades, floor finishing and windows of both historical and contemporary architecture. First, these patterns can be fitted on different surfaces through geometrical concepts such as propagation, curtailment and scaling. Second, most of these types of patterns are self-similar configurations that are roughly similar to one part of themselves. This characteristic assists in making use of the properties of fractal geometry in parametric design of the patterns and further modification of an arrangement and density of a typical configuration. Third, some different patterns are generally based upon the same underlying rules and can be generated using almost the same geometrical processing techniques. Considering the self-similarity characteristic of the patterns, some shading screens are designed in this study with some Persian geometric patterns and then they are evaluated regarding their daylighting and structural performance.
In the daylighting performance evaluation phase, we look at the year around daylighting levels and light distribution of a regular office space, while the specified shading screen is installed in front of a transparent full floor to ceiling glass facade. It is assumed that by using the shading screen, the required lighting levels are being maintained, while the heat gain is being reduced. In addition, the designed patterns play a role as an architectural feature of the building.
In the structural performance evaluation phase, the shading screens which are considered as exterior self-supporting systems are analyzed under their self-weight and wind loads. The goal is to reach a minimum weight for the screens that are performing structurally.
Ultimately, the presented shading screens are based on Persian geometric ornamental patterns and arranged according to the lighting and structural requirements. Results are indicating a multi-disciplinary approach in the design of the shading screens, which can be employed in creating similar prototypes with different climatic and loading requirements.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of IASS Annual Symposia, IASS 2014 Brasilia Symposium: Shells, Membranes and Spatial Structures: Footprints – Structural Morphology 1: Design and Engineering Computing
PublisherInternational Association for Shell and Spatial Structures
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Persian ornamentation patterns
  • Shading screens
  • Performance-based design
  • Daylighting performance
  • Structural performance


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