Packaging Innovation
April 29, 2011

Cardboard 'gothic' architecture

Have a look at the complex column design by Michael Hansmeyer, an architect and computer scientist based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. His work is composed of sixteen million faces and made from 2,700 layers of cardboard. It is the result of a cutting-edge computational process and people’s responses to it are just as improbable. “Some people say it looks like a reptile, some people think it looks like an underwater creature and other people bring up the Gothic,” said Hansmeyer. The incredible complexity of the column’s fractal surface is the product of what is known as a “subdivision algorithm,” a process that used a computer program to divide and sub-divide the facets of a classical Doric column. To make the design reality, laser cutters sliced the design out of 2,700 individual layers of 1mm-thick cardboard sheets. The layers were then stacked around a load-bearing core to produce a 2.7 meter-high prototype. Via