Folded Surfaces

Analysis and Design of Folded
Surfaces in Architecture and Manufacturing

Riccardo Foschi
Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, 2019

Both in the field of design and architecture origami is often taken as a reference for its kinetic proprieties and its elegant appearance. Dynamic facades, fast deployment structures, temporary shelters, portable furniture, retractile roofs, are some examples which can take advantage of the kinetic properties of the origami.

While designing with origami, the designer needs to control shape and motion at the same time, which increases the complexity of the design process. This complexity of the design process may lead the designers to choose a solution where the patterns are mere copies of well-known patterns or to reference to the origami only for ornamental purposes.

The origami-inspired projects that author gathered and studied in the fields of architecture, manufacturing and fashion, confirmed this trend. He observed that the cause of this lack of variety could also be attributed to insufficient knowledge, or to inefficiency of the design tools. Many researchers studied the mathematical implications of origami, to be able to design specific patterns for precise applications.

However, this theoretical knowledge is hard to apply directly to different practical projects without a deep understanding of these theorems. Thus, in this thesis by Riccardo Foschi, author aims to narrow the gap between potentialities of this discipline and limits of the available designing tools, by proposing a simplified synthetic constructive approach, applied with a parametric modeller, which allows the designers to bypass scripting and algebraic formulations and, at the same time, it increases the design freedom.

Among the cases studies, he proposes some fabrication- aimed examples, which introduce the subjects of thick- origami, distribution of stresses and analysis of deformations of the folded models.

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