-  final project  +

light curtains

Daylight has been used for centuries as the primary source to illuminate interior spaces and architects have always been interested in‐ and fascinated by ‐ it; yet it could be a difficult discipline to approach, realize and master.

The study started with the query that, does Light exists in its own right, whether light is something visible in itself, and not merely something that serves to make the other things visible. And if so, what does light consist of? Does it have a shape, a character, an existence in time and space?



In mass housing schemes, especially high-rise apartments, a single dwelling unit is designed and is repeated around a central service core. It becomes difficult to respond to the climate as there is less control on the south, east and west direction while designing internal spaces. The solution, too often used by the designers is to minimise the size of fenestrations in south and west directions or covering openings with blinds or curtains, cutting the natural light completely. The other alternative employed is to use diffused light, by allowing daylight to hit a surface and then illuminate the space. In doing so the visual connection to the outside is compromised.

Now the question is, how natural light can be brought in during all day of all seasons without undermining the architectural nuances?

In a climate, which is predominantly hot, the regular architectural practice is to cut the sun entering the space as it is harsh and brings in a lot of heat with it. In such a condition inhabitants have to rely on artificial means of light even during day-time. This raises a serious concern over human psychology. It is equally detrimental for environment as more electricity is being used.


Natural light, has an expressive power to move and improve the mood. The idea is to use acrylic as a medium to solve the problem. Acrylic has limited use in buildings, but if it is used smartly it could benefit the interior spaces. It's important property to allow visual transparency cannot be undermined. In fact its appropriate usage can bring in a huge difference in the way we perceive natural light in not only housing but in the entire building industry.

Because the surface of the acrylic provides transparency so it is widely used in housing and other building types. But it also allows heat to penetrate into the space. The edge condition of the acrylic too can bring in natural light in ample quantity which could enhance the interior spatial quality. This cuts down the exposure of the light falling on the acrylic surface allowing light to get in and heat to be kept out. This mystical light travels within the acrylic panel and is transmitted from the receiving end to the interior space based on the concept of total internal reflection.

This will lessen the dependence on the artificial means of lighting, making building much more energy efficient. More research is required to develop this concept further before it could be introduced to the building sector especially housing.

When acrylic shutters are turned around, with their surface facing the interiors, view to the outside is achieved, especially during morning hours. And wooden shutters which are perpendicular to it frames the view.

On the other hand, when wooden shutters are turned around facing the interiors,the space becomes very dark. But having acrylic edge facing the inside, allow some amount of light to be transmited in the interior space through the concept of total internal reflection. The wooden shutters then blocks harsh afternoon sun.

Design Sketch

Presentation Slide and Video

Bills of Material

Resin-JuteFibre Composite panels

The fabric I used

Me preparing the planks for compaction

Clingwrapping the planks

Adding the first layer of fabric

Wiping sweat, while trying to avoid getting toxic resin on my face

Mixing resin

Laying more fabric

Mixing is essential

Laying 4th layer

Laying 5th layer

Composite ready

Composite panels turned out to be harder and slightly heavier than acrylic panels of similar thickness

Laser-cut MDF panels

Setting Z focus

Loading the drawing in RD workz

Laser-cut sheet SPEED - 45 / POWER - 75

MDF panels lighter than composite

3D printing the hardware


Printing in ABS

STL of servo mount

PRinted hardware. male and female part of the pivot coupler

The tolerance between two parts for smooth connection was -0.5mm

Adapter for ball bearings

Printed in ABS again

It was quite sturdy and strong, was pleasantly surprised

CNCing the Frame

Me using PartWorks

Safety and fun are essential parts

CNC midway

Ready to be assembled

Laying out profiles for efficient stock material usage

I machined the top cover later, to cover up the electronics

It is machined out of 16mm plywood


The circuit uses input, output and networking and communications weeks. The input is in the form of buttons. The output device is the servo motors. And finally, each individual servo is operated by a node which ultimately is controlled by a bridge. The code currently is demonstrating the response of input using button which sends a serial command which rotates the servo by 45 degrees. After one press of the button, the servo moves to 45 degree and stays there for approximately one second. There is FTDI compatible pins on the bridge to track the communications between the bridge and node.


Fabrication and programming is covered in Week 15


These series of pictures shows my (at times futile) attempts to assemble my project without a hitch

All the parts ready to be assembled

The bottom frame

Attaching the panels

Getting the orthogonality just right

Yup, got it

The electronics assembly was quite linear and straight forward

It's coming together

Finishing it off with the top frame. DONE ,


  • Final Project Files
  • It has the following contents -
    • DWG Drawings
    • 3D Printed files
      • STL files
      • GCODE files for ultimaker 2+
    • CNC milling files

Links to relevant weeks

I had design the bridge and node in the week 15 - Networking an Communications for control motion of the shutters.


I would like to thank my instructors and lab staff for providing technical support whenever needed. I learned some good things from all fellow students, each one having some strong knowledge, enriched my learning.