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Origami Pavilion

The parametrically designed Origami Pavilion at Detmold University of Applied Sciences, Germany using various optimization algorithms by architect Tal Friedman is a fully self-supporting structure folded out of rigid aluminium boards. Tal expounds his views about the pavilion.

What does the oriental and secular art of paper folding have in common with aluminum? At first, absolutely nothing, however, architect Tal Friedman felt the hidden similarity between the two and arrived at a modern project and with an interesting structure: The Origami Pavilion. The project presents a novel approach to the construction of self-supporting thin-shell folded structures. It attempts to take the defining elements of Origami folding and implement them on an architectural scale, creating a full-scale pavilion folded out of composite aluminum boards which are parametrically designed to fold into shape. Using these principles, a design was made to approximate the growth of a flower which demonstrates an efficient thin shell self-supporting mechanism. A basic folding variable module was created which can be parametrically manipulated in order to form a seamless pattern. The method includes a workflow ranging from initial design to an FEA approach developed especially for the project and optimization algorithms for fabrication.

This project tries to investigate the structural and aesthetic values of Origami inspired folded structures. It is the first fully self-supported cantilever folded structure which uses traditional Japanese paper folding techniques and is folded into stability with no supporting substructure. It, therefore, incorporates a minimalist thin shell from which nothing can be added or subtracted, using its surface rigidity as its structural foundation. The model is based on Origami principles which are modelled with zero thickness and computationally optimized in order to address material thickness and fabrication restraints while producing a seamless looking facade, resembling the original zero-thickness model. In contrast to classical Origami which is designed from a second pattern, this project is designed entirely in third space and parametrically optimized to unfolded in a process the architect calls, “fold finding”.

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