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Origami in Architecture

· Origami Applications

By: Mais Alshobaki -

Origami is not only an art that is based on folding sheets of paper into exquisite designs. Its inspiration and applications reach way beyond that.

A lot of people are taking Origami as a hobby. Nowadays it's a known art that has been used in fashion, the medical field, space... not only that but recently it has been a wide-spread source of inspiration for architecture.

The technical term “Origamic Architecture” appeared that many new engineers are using it to create smart and modern designed buildings, after attempts to make architectural designs based on the Origami concept, it's becoming a trend in contemporary architecture.

We are going to see some of the amazing buildings from around the world that were built based on Origami techniques connecting the art of Origami and architecture and design.

Al Bahr Towers - Abu Dhabi, UAE

Photo Source: architecturever_ Instagram page and website

Name: Al Bahr Towers.
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Albahr tower design based on the Origami concept and a flower called "Mashrabiya". “This paper presents a case study of an adaptive sunscreen facade and evaluation of its performance and occupant behavior.” Says Shady Attia

Source: Innovations in dynamic architecture/

To all who do not know "Mashrabiya", it is an architectural element that is characteristic of Arabic residences, it is a type of projecting oriel window enclosed with carved wood latticework located on the second story of a building or higher, often lined with stained glass and it's usually used for privacy purposes and reducing solar and glare gain.

They used the shading screens that folds and unfolds in response to the movements of the sun at Albahr Tower and this reduced solar gain up to 50% as simultaneously improving the admission of natural diffused light into the towers and improving visibility.

The dynamic unit of "Mashrabiya" was explained in a simple Origami model that clears how the triangular unit would function.

Source: Picture uploaded by Ayman Wagdy on

These dynamic units would decrease the need for significant artificial lighting and mechanical air conditioning. It also improves visibility, user comfort, and decreasing energy usage.

Check out the video below to see the mechanism in action 👇

Nestlé Chocolate Museum - Mexico City, Mexico

Photo Credit: The Cool Hunter Journal

Name: The Nestlé Chocolate Museum.

Location: Mexico City, Mexico.

The Nestlé Chocolate Museum is an urban-scale toy that invites us on an emotional tour to give us free rein to explore the creativity of Michel Rojkind.

It's not only the first chocolate museum in Mexico but it also the first chocolate museum that combines Origami, architecture, and design that was built within 2.5 months. The corrugated metal facade gives it a bulky industrial look while the bright colors and shapes used to remind you of fun and child play.

Karuizawa Museum Complex - Nagano, Japan

Photo Credit: architects Yasui Hideo Atelier

Name: Karuizawa Museum Complex.
Location: Nagano, Japan

Yasui Hideo Atelier was asked to design a facility accompanied to the museum of Hioshi SENJU, the world-famous Japanese painter/artist. He said, “Even planning the project, priority was given to the conceptual work involved (i.e. geometrical shape containing both traditional and modern forms) in order to make my design coexist on the same site with the museum that had a curved form interpreting Karuizawa ’s nature in an elegant way.”

The design was built using a concept from Japanese art culture, such Japanese craft as ‘Origami’, ‘Sensu fan’, or ‘Byobu screen‘ are created from just one piece of paper, having an infinite possibility to be shaped in various forms, they also resemble western geometric designs giving it an original and modern look.

Museo Soumaya - Mexico City, Mexico

Name: Museo Soumaya

Location: Mexico City, Mexico

Source: and

One of the most unique museum buildings in the world is Museo Soumaya which is found in Mexico. It has been described as “dazzling,” “a trapezoid in motion,” and “the world’s flashiest museum.” The amazing work of architecture is the brainchild of Fernando Romero and it was deemed by some as “impossible to build !”.

The façade was a huge challenge, it’s covered with 16,000 hexagonal aluminum modules with no windows. Concrete and steel were used to create a solid base to hold that amazing grid of origami-like modules together, using the hexagons to hide the base, the designer was able to achieve a continuous open mesh that is unique in the world of design.



- and


-Cooling buildings in Abu Dhabi's heat - CNN/ Architectural Videos YouTube channel:

-Innovations in dynamic architecture/

-Photos Source: architecturever_ Instagram page and website / Architects Yasui Hideo Atelier / The Cool Hunter Journal / Picture uploaded by Ayman Wagdy on

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