Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Grasshopper Routine for Generating Folded Plate Forms

A routine for generating folded plate structures was recently completed here at the studio using the parametric Grasshopper software.  A few examples are depicted above.  This routine is intended to facilitate the creation of folded plate forms for various architectural uses.

These forms are becoming increasingly easy to build due to mass customization and computer milling, but it is my sense that the forms are still largely avoided in the built environment simply because the design process is so tedious.  After recently completing a few origami-inspired furniture pieces, seeing the St. Loup Chapel and enthusiastically reading a recent paper about origami and folded plates (by Hani Buri and Yves Weinand) I decided to take a crack at simplifying this process.

The forms in this routine are generated by simply sketching two curves on two perpendicular planes with the two curves sharing a common point of beginning.  As curve B sweeps along curve A it reverses orientation at each new line segment. This generates a complex array of alternating origami-type "mountain" and "valley" folds.  The geometry of these forms is complex enough that not all curves will be initially deployable but after a bit of editing, the user will quickly develop an intuition for how the curves can be modified to function properly.

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