Digitally signed by Dr.
Dr. Yasser Mahgoub
DN: CN = Dr. Yasser
Mahgoub, C = KW, O =
Origamic Architecture Yasser Kuwait University, OU =
Dept. of Architecture
By: Dr. Yasser Mahgoub
Mahgoub Date: 2010.05.12
What is Origamic Architecture?
Origamic Architecture (also known as origami architecture) is a paper-craft form
which combines the careful folding of origami, the detailed cutting, and the precise
paper engineering of pop-ups. Unlike traditional pop-ups, these paper models are
usually cut and folded from one sheet of paper. They can be folded flat for storage or
mailing in conventional envelopes, but when they're unfolded magic happens as each
card pops up into an amazing and delightful 3-dimensional structure. Some models
are meant to be viewed open at a 180° or 360° angle and, a few, at 0° (these are
actually overlapping collages), but most origamic architecture cards are designed to
be displayed open at a 90° angle.
Origami architecture (OA) is the art of making a pop-up card by cutting and folding
paper. It transforms 3D object to 2D pattern and back to 3D object again.
It was invented by a Japanese architecture professor, Masahiro Chatani, in 1980. The
first origami architecture card he designed was a new year card for his friends. Later
on he used origami architecture to make architecture and its related issues appealing
to the general public. His works have been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art
(MoMA), New York.
Origami architecture is more than cutting and folding business. It sharpens the
discipline and logical thinking. It sharpens the ability to discern the ESSENCE of
things and beauty. It speaks the same philosophy as minimalist and Zen interior. And
it is an art that rejoices in the extraordinary beauty of ordinary humble material, paper,
in wonderful play of light and shadow.
Getting Started in Origamic Architecture
There are two basic tools you must have: an X-acto (or craft) knife and a ruler with
a metal edge to cut against. A self-healing cutting mat to cut on is recommend, but
thick cardboard or some old catalogs will work fine. You'll also want some "low-tack"
tape to adhere the pattern to your cardstock while you're transferring the design,
preferably 3M's Post-it® 1"-wide Correction Tape, but drafting tape or masking tape
with some of the tack removed are other good options.
You can use a pattern from a book or come up with your own design. And you can
utilize a variety of papers as long as they're stiff enough to be able to hold the shape
of the model once it's constructed. I recommend using at least 80 lb coverstock in
8.5"x11" sheets. Watercolor papers in the 90-140 lb range work well and have a nice
textured finish. On some models, use a very stiff 100 lb Strathmore bristol board in 20
sheet pads of 9"x12". This paper is thick and somewhat difficult to work with, so I
recommend getting some practice on lighter weight papers first.
Tools and materials
5.Ruler: Use a hard plastic or a steel ruler
6.Drafting tape: It's a kind of Scotch tape which adhesive force is weaken. Then it can be peeled off
7.Stylus pen (Substitute for Compasses or Pins) If you don't have stylus pen, you can use compasses or
pins for substitutes. You use them to mark points on the paper and draw folding lines.
8.Tweezers: They are used to fold the delicate part easily. You don't have to have them.
1. Fix the pattern sheet
Put the drawing and kent paper together and fix them temporarily by taping (drafting tape) at the four
2. Mark with a stylus pen
Mark the key contact points for folding and cutting lines on the patterns. Trace the curves strongly so
that the patterns may be copied.
3. Cut the lines
Remove the drawing and cut the lines traced by the stylus pen. Use a cutter knife. Be careful not to cut
4. Run the folding line
For easy folding, run the stylus pen or cutter knife with almost half way deep on the sheet along the
folding lines. Work on the ridge folding lines from the top side, on the other hand, the valley, from the
back side of the sheet. Be sure to use a ruler for precise application of the stylus pen or cutter knife.
5. Fold carefully
Put both hands on both sides of the sheet and fold carefully to make the ridges and valleys exactly as
instructed, starting with the finely patterned area in the center.
6. Fold into two
Lastly, fold into two and press.
7. Open it 90 degree
Relax yourself when you cut.
There often may be added too much strength, when you are cutting delicate part carefully. You don't
need so much strength to cut a piece of paper. Please relax yourself, and make it.
Pay attention to use edged tools.
Be careful not to hurt yourself when you use the cutter knife or stylus pen. If you finished using them,
it is necessary for you to put them a safe place.