Self-supporting via origami

Origami in Logroño, Spain by MANUEL BOUZAS

A single sheet of paper cannot stand up on its own, but by folding it in different directions and shapes, it can be made not only more stable but capable of bearing loads greater than its own weight. The same principle applies when you put several sheets of wood together. This was the reasoning of architects Manuel Bouzas Cavada, Manuel Bouzas Barcala and Clara Álvarez when they created a pavilion for the architecture and design festival Concéntrico 03, where all the installations were constructed in plywood.

Inspired by Japanese origami, the aim was to spark visitors’ curiosity and show that plywood is strong enough to support itself. The pavilion had no load-bearing timber frame. Instead the structure was held up just by the 39 plywood sheets, which were joined and leaned against each other so that gravity could do the work. In order to be able to fold and angle the panels in the same way as their paper forebears, they are fitted with hinges in the joints. The design also lets light flood in to form exciting patterns.


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