The project is a continual house that radically transforms the understanding of housing and materials. My partner (Wesley Lam) and I investigated ways of how to fold soft materials to offer enclosure and structural qualities such as: bond paper, mylar paper, roofing felt, and wall paper. Through many experiments of material and shape, the arch shape and PETG plastic is the final form and material. The method of folding offers flexibility that allows space of rooms to change by pulling, pushing, and collapsing the surface. The amount of folding and material fluctuates in relation to the budget, time, and resources availability. Spaces and sizes can change overtime by personal preference of privacy, temperature, space, time, and seasonal changes. The flexiblity within housing offers a new way of living instead of being limited to traditional housing.
The beginning phase of the project was to simply explore and learn different ways of folding paper. We studied how paper can be folded into geometries that are connected to allow collapsing for void and solid spaces. Also, we in- vestigated different ways of folding to offer structural properties that the material did not have when it is a flat sheet. The folding pattern dictates the different angles that the paper can collapse into and we learned how to fold specific angles. Learning from the study models, we were able to make a folded square geometry from a flat sheet of paper. Part of the discussion was the material and we explored mylar as a possible material because it offers more strength than paper. A study model of mylar square with cut outs for opening was made and the model was able to tolerate more loads than the paper model.
My partner and I experimented a pattern that folds into a triangle with some dividers for an enclosure using mylar. The mylar model took a whole week to fold because there are too many folds. We envisioned the model to be a triangle form with specific cuts, however, when the model was erected, the material dictated the shape despite the pattern folds. We did not foresee the curves produced by gravity on the material, however, we learned how the material can influ- ence the shape and form despite our laid out patterns.
We looked into other materials that are part of building construction instead of solely paper and mylar. We investigated different angles, curves, and cutouts using roofing felt. Series of models were made to incorporate growth and to learn how to create enclosures overtime. We envisioned the structure will become a house for both of us so drawings of the model was incorporated with electrical and plumbing lines, and insulation. The material was easy to fold because it is a very soft material, however, we were not sure if the material would be able to stand and support itself. Three of the same folded pattern was made to experiment the different ways of anchoring the structure: spraying water and dusting concrete at the same time for the whole model, spraying water and dusting concrete halfway up the study model, and dusting concrete then spraying water. From these studies, we found that the roofing felt cannot support too much concrete and there were cracks as the concrete hardened.
Wesley and I decided to make a full scale using roofing felt, however, the model failed because the material was too soft in ratio to the length of the sides. After discovering the roofing felt material will not work at full scale, we decided to try PETG. To minimize the folds and labor while thinking of a form that would help transfer loads, we chose an arch shape. Our first study model was to un- derstand the folding pattern, the shape, and structural property after the PETG sheet is folded. We tested the strength by having Wesley sitting on the study model.
We made a full scale arch out of PETG to investigate the arch form is structurally sound. The full scale arch model is made of five pieces and the folds are in ratio to 4’x8’ including overlap for connections. We knew that the sides had to be anchored and we experimented the sides with sprayed water and dusted concrete. The first time of spraying water and dusting concrete did not work so well because the concrete and water slid down instead of sticking on the PETG. The second time we added a thin porous fabric to help trap the concrete and water together. The concrete was much more even and the process of dusting concrete and spraying water was done throughout a month.
For interior spaces, Wesley and I decided that the interior materials do not need to be waterproof and can be more flexible than the exterior shell. We explored a thicker bond paper that would be able to stand while it is easy to open, close, expand, and contract spaces for different use. Magnets are embedded along the material surfaces to easily open and close spaces.
The site model was made of a mylar exterior shell and the material of interior spaces are made of kraft paper. The mag- nets are used to hold the interior spaces open when needed and can be easily expanded if desired. The paper is light weight so spaces can be moved efficiently. The spaces are flexible and can be changed over time to accomodate different desired spaces.
Below is a section video, showing how the flexibility of spaces can be used over time.
The overall construction is build through segments and can be changed when needed or desired. Throughout the year, the exterior shell can be open when weather permits. Floor radiant heating is cast into a concrete slabs at specific ar- eas so different sizes of spaces can be made that needs heat such as: bedroom and living room spaces.
For the exterior shell, the enclosure method is pulled horizontally down and anchored on the bottom edge. The interior spaces are enclosed with a vertical fold and magnets to lock together. The side entrance is an overlap with magnets to keep the layers together.
The sides of the exterior shell are anchored at specific areas with sprayed water and dusted concrete constantly throughout the year. Pipes and electrical wires are cast into the concrete slabs so spaces can locate anywhere within the exterior shell.