Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Dean's Office Qatar

First Advisor

Rab McClure

Second Advisor

Chris Buchakjian

Third Advisor

Reema Abu Hassan


Traditionally, a mashrabiya was an ornate wooden structure attached to the side of an Arabian building or house, with small, intricately patterned openings to provide both ventilation and privacy for the people inside. The patterns, following the geometric rules of Islamic ornament, lent a distinctive appearance to buildings in the region. A mashrabiya converted the house into a safe, private sanctuary, providing a magical scene inside, characterized by linear sun rays, filtered points of light and shadow. Over time, as building technology changed and the number of skilled craftsmen dwindled, the traditional mashrabiya has all but vanished. The aim of this thesis is to propose a new future for the mashrabiya, converting it from a stylistically preordained Islamic artifact to a culturally resonant architectural element expressive of Arabic culture and lifestyle. The research explores connections between culture and nature, using a generative design process powered by algorithms, to produce patterns inspired by nature reminiscent of formations found in the Arabian desert. A contemporary structure, The Algorithmic Mashrabiya is respectful of the Islamic principles embedded within the traditional mashrabiya but is newly aligned with the needs and capabilities of twenty-first century architecture.


© Ahmed Nour

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