Design studio project
Faculty of Architecture
University of Catania
Siracusa, Italy, 2009

coordinators: prof. Luigi Alini, Aleksandra Jaeschke, Andrea Di Stefano
technical support & sponsorship: International Paper, Catania

special thanks to Mustapha Chitachni


99% biodegradable and entirely recyclable, the Origami Pavilion is a cardboard structure for temporary events. The 1:1 scale prototype is the result of a collaboration between Studio Aion, prof. Luigi Alini and the students of Architecture from the University of Catania. It was rendered possible thanks to technical support and sponsorship of International Paper, a leading cardboard producer based in Catania.
The projects begins with a careful study of the material. Load-bearing capacity, tear resistance and humidity absorption levels are all looked at separately and determine the choice of each layer of the cardboard sandwich. The fabrication constraints impose the dimensions of the individual modules and limit the number of possible folds. Larger surfaces are obtained through a partial superposition of several modules which are then fixed with reusable plastic joints.
The structural organisation is based on two fundamental origami patterns, which in combination render the cardboard rigid and yet functionally specific forming the foundations, the arch and the keystone. The cardboard folds following the lines of concentrated stresses, the rainwater paths and in reaction to the wind pressures.
This self-supporting system is composed of three types of interconnected modules. Each one constitutes a minimum foldable element; extremely unstable in itself but containing information defining the entire organisation. The assembly process reduces the flexibility of each module and impose the tendency towards the overall form and stability.
The formal – and structural - coherency is achieved through a careful control of the angles which define the geometric configuration of each module and, in consequence, of the entire organisation. In this way, the formation of the structure emerges bottom up through a strategic control of basic geometric parameters which define global deformations.

Please, visit You Tube to see the construction process and Abitare Online for more images.