This gorgeous origami-inspired building in Columbus, Indiana is made entirely from recycled plastic – and it lights up at night with a beautiful LED display. Students at the IU School of Art, Architecture + Design in Bloomington, led by Professor Jiangmei Wu, designed the Synergia pavilion as an experiment in building complex structures inspired by biological forms, soap bubbles, and crystal patterns.
The temporary pavilion sits on the site of Eero Saarinen’s North Christian Church in Columbus, and it references the famous architect’s mid-century modernist architecture. Its design stems from a single element– a bisymmetric polyhedron tessellated into interlocking layers. Over 500 polyhedrons, measuring about two to three feet each, work together to form the elongated hexagonal shape.
Translucent corrugated plastic sheets made from recycled plastic were laser cut at Noblitt Fabricating in Columbus Indiana and then hand folded like origami to form each of the structural units. The plastic corrugated boards are extremely lightweight and can be easily bent along the flutes.
When connected together, the folded hinges produce an interlocking self-supporting lattice that is light and yet structurally efficient. This eliminates the need for additional framing and assemblage and reduces waste.
Photos by Tony Vasquez