Cutting and Pasting – Kirigami in Architecture, Technology, and Science (KATS) / Jenny E. Sabin (architecture), Dan Luo (biological and environmental engineering), Cornell University; Shu Yang (materials science), Randall Kamien (physics), University of Pennsylvania

Principal Investigator: Jenny E. Sabin

Design Research Team: Martin Miller, Daniel Cellucci, Giffen Ott

Overview: From architecture to chemistry, from chalkboards to micrographs, and from maps to trompe-l’oeil, we strive to communicate 3D geometry, structures, and features using 2D representations. They have allowed us not only to communicate complex information, but also to create real objects, from the act of folding a paper airplane to the construction of a bedroom set from IKEA to the digital fabrication of entire buildings. Moreover, we will follow the philosophy of “Interact Locally, Fold Globally,” necessary for deployable and scalable architectures. Using mathematical modeling, architectural elements, design computation, DNA engineering, and controlled elastic response, we will develop new techniques, algorithms, and processes for the assembly of open, deployable structural elements and structures. Our team of engineers, architects, and scientists will bring to bear current ideas, modalities, and techniques to the table to move these ideas from the drafting table to reality.

Our vision to bring together biomaterials, mathematics, architecture, and modern materials synthesis promises wholesale integration of knowledge across disparate disciplines. The outcome will be the basis for new ways of thinking, new modalities for design, and new principles of folding, assembling, and construction. We will pose, process, and answer questions in applied mathematics, engineering, biochemistry, and physics, paving the road to truly interdisciplinary thought and content. Broader

Our work naturally lends itself to public display and interaction, while also bridging fields in the large — faculty of design, engineering, arts & sciences, and architecture, as well as more specific areas of expertise. In particular, Sabin’s exhibits around the world will provide an effective and natural route for outreach and broad participation. Our plan to generate multimedia content will complement and enhance our impact on science, art, and engineering.


Stay tuned for updates on this recently launched project!

This project is funded by the National Science Foundation Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation, Origami Design for Integration of Self-assembling Systems for Engineering Innovation, and is jointly housed at the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University.