Shanasheel; it’s socio-cultural context and making process
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The ‘Shanasheel’ is an Iraqi name for the ‘Mashrbiya;’ a well-known Islamic architectural element, which appears as an extruded wooden structure from the frontal façade of domestic buildings, and distinguished the designs of traditional houses in the big cities in many Middle East and North African countries. In Baghdad and the major cities down to the Deep South of Iraq, traditional house designs are characterised by one or two storeys, and built of a mix of baked and sun-dried bricks, set out around a courtyard; which functions as a central space of the dwelling’s collective living practices. As well, it influences and improves the living conditions relating to the physical environment factors of sunlight and airflow. In these houses, Al-Shanasheel dominates the façade of the second storey, and offers a microclimate based on its unique design of fine joinery that is constructed mainly from teakwood. Through adjustment of its latticework windows, the Shansheel is capable of opening and closing to enhance the recreation and comfortable living conditions during the day in relation to the air ventilation and natural lighting.