Bending cylinders: A geometric syntax for zero-waste architecture

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter


This research explores the generation of a novel syntax for architectural space driven by a geometric construction strategy that aims to eliminate material waste. The primary goal of the investigations is to avoid off-cuts by creating a vocabulary of varied three-dimensional forms using the full dimensions of standard rectangular sheet material (4 ft x 8 ft) as a building block. By engaging the isometric relationship between flatness and three-dimensional form, the research investigates how wasteconscious approaches to geometric innovation can have typological, topological, and tectonic effects on architectural language. Specifically, the work deploys a subset of curved crease folding that uses planar reflections (sectional mirror operations) to create unique spatial and structural forms through composite cylindrical and conical surfaces. Whereas known studies in curved crease folding typically explore singular (one-off, figural) compositions, this process develops the operation into an aggregation strategy to suggest large inhabitable structures as both figural and field-like conditions. Through geometric literacy, this process attempts to achieve three primary advancements: fusing the design process with constructability, designing the part and whole simultaneously, and creating a workflow whereby complex three-dimensional forms are designed, fabricated, stored, and transported in their compact two-dimensional state. This proposed methodology allows us to consider material economy and labor early in the design process, before construction, and eliminates the additional step of post-rationalizing complex curvature. Finally, the research illustrates a built full-scale prototype that tests the effectiveness of the process in the form of a low-cost shade structure in a small neighborhood park.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Architectural Geometry 2023
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783111162683
ISBN (Print)9783111160115
StatePublished - Oct 4 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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