Plasma Cut Metal Screen

How can vernacular jaalis and traditional Indian patterns be reimagined in metal?

Site condition:  The DPS Kindergarten School in Bengaluru, India is a stand-alone building that is part of a larger school complex. At the heart of the partial two-story school is a central, open air courtyard that is used for both play and learning. Due to the climate of the region, the existing terra cotta brick screens do not have glass panels behind them. The two main needs that the new screens will fulfill are controlling light and allowing cross ventilation in order to reduce the energy consumption of the school.

The design proposition:  In order to provide an even distribution of light to the three sides of the building containing classrooms, the modular screen pattern will be consistent and evenly distributed.  There are hallways behind the screens on the front façade which allows for greater variation of the same pattern. The pattern here creates a field gradient where the voids gradually become smaller at eye level in order to reduce sun glare.

Fabrication: The pattern was designed using Adobe Illustrator and was fabricated out of steel using a plasma cutter.  The capabilities provided by the plasma cutter allowed the pattern to become more intricate, create a field gradient, and was reflective of traditional Indian patterns.

Produced in the architecture studio “Screen Test: Metal Work” taught by Gayla Lindt and Justin Kindelspire
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, February/March 2016

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