Origami used for Architectural Geometry and Connections

This research aimed at furthering an understanding of the structural possibilities for architects when considering the geometry defined by origami folding techiniques. The design components of point, line, plane and volume are directly related to the vertex, folds, paper, and structure involved with origami. This research focused primarily on how this knowledge could be applied to a folded-plate structural system. By looking at the Muira Ori and Yoshimura folding patterns, structures of this system would benefit greatly to its applicable use for temporary, portable and sometimes even permanent structures.

The Muira Ori Pattern is a simple grid of folding that follows two key rules: the horizontal folds are straight and the vertical folds are diagonal or zigzag. This characteristic means there can be a smooth deployabilit for this structure and that at the vertices of the folds (in architectural, the connections), the intersections displace on another, avoiding friction and stress between them. This means that with the use of hinges, the material would not undergo much less stress than if the two key rules were not followed.

The Yoshimura pattern follows a similar ruling, except there are only vertical folds and diagonal folds to form a diamond pattern. This creates a significant stiffness in the axial direction.

Case Study: Origami Dome

A project created by N. Sugiura, Y. Nakamura, H. Tagawa, T. Uno, and S. Okazaki of the Mukogawa Women’s University for the 4th International Conference of Archi-cultural Interactions through the Silk Road examined how the Yoshimura pattern can be a solid point of reference for structural legitimacy. Their Origami Dome was made of a propylene cardboard of varying thickness that created a small space for people to sit and relax.

In addition to the rigid plates, there was a compression ring at the apex of the dome and a folding sill to provide a foundation for the folded plates to connect at the proper angle and maintain overal rigidity.
There was a noted simplicity in the deployment of this structure. Deployment as a whole has been the guiding motive for engaging origami with architecture as Koryo Miura, developer of the Muira-Ori pattern, designed his techinique for an efficient deployment of satellite PV arrays in space. For the Origami Dome, deployment enabled a few people to transport, unfold and stabilize the structure.
A structural analysis informed the value of iterations. When comparing a dome form versus a vaulted form, it was clear to the designers that a dome was more stable than the vaulted form.
For a designer to go from concept to construction in a project such as this, it is imperative to study the design from different lenses. Computer simulation brings a strong analytical and fabrication aspect to the design, but actually folding paper can inform ideal geometrical relationship between each structural member. A cyclical process that volleys between simulation and physical mockups can help the designer refine their intended structure to a point of legitimacy for fabrication and structural integrity.


Ahmed, S., Kamel, A., & Mahmoud, W. (2020). Methodology for using origami in designing deployable shelters. Journal of Design Sciences and Applied Arts, 1(2), 20–37. https://doi.org/10.21608/jdsaa.2020.28469.1016

Doroftei, I. A., Bujoreanu, C., & Doroftei, I. (2018). An overview on the applications of mechanisms in architecture. part II: Foldable Plate structures. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 444, 052019. https://doi.org/10.1088/1757-899x/444/5/052019

Evans, T. A., Lang, R. J., Magleby, S. P., & Howell, L. L. (2015). Rigidly foldable origami gadgets and tessellations. Royal Society Open Science, 2(9), 150067. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.150067

YiğitNergiz, & SeçkinYavuz. (2004). Industrial product design by using two-dimensional material in the context of origamicstructure and integrity(dissertation).

Megahed, N. A. (2017). Origami folding and its potential for architecture students. The Design Journal, 20(2), 279–297. https://doi.org/10.1080/14606925.2017.1270511

Sugiura, N., Nakamura, Y., Tagawa, H., Uno, T., & Okazaki, S. (2017). DESIGN AND FABRICATION OF ORIGAMI DOME. In Archi-cultural interactions through the Silk Road: 4th International Conference, MukogawaWomen’s University, nishinomiya, Japan, July 16-18, 2016, Selected papers(pp. 202–205). Nishinomiya; MukogawaWomen’s University Press. Retrieved 11AD.

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