Folding: The Intuition of Form-making

When speaking of the fold, it is the echoes of Deleuze and Guattari that spring to mind – highly suggestive by some of their book titles. In essence, at its core lays the implication of space and how we relate to it. Spaces pass from inside to outside, raising an argument on the concept of boundary and motion.

The composition – organising each part in its place – creates patterns, and establishes the union of different programs seamlessly. This leads to a discovery of spaces of relation and interchange at the level of new organisations and social interchange.

Forest House by Kube Architecture
Forest House by Kube Architecture

A folding is a landscape in a landscape, an undulation and a deformation of the programming layers which are positioned at random. — Françoise Roche

We talk about folds, unfoldings and foldbacks as possible dynamic trajectories between structures and devices – rhizomatic formations, clusters, webs and coilings. Folds are dynamic dispositions, developed more or less sequentially, which through seriation and alteration, action and interaction, variation and displacement, expansion and extension – internal and external – through a movement of folding, unfolding or folding back, “favouring variable development and virtual mutation of shape in combined and combinatorial evolutions which are definitively open – are virtually incomplete.” [1]

VillaVPRO by MVRDV // The Netherlands, 1997
VillaVPRO by MVRDV // The Netherlands, 1997

Folding is a method by which buildings arise through the unfolding of land, materials and spaces into continuous form. Popularised by a generation of architects, who had been educated by the likes of Peter Eisenman and had read Gilles Deleuze’s Leibniz, or, The Fold, this method seeks to replace the alienating experience of creating separate spaces that remove themselves from the rest of reality and that re-articulate the laws of gravity. Folding is also possible because of the plasticity of modern materials and thus dates back to the first experiments in concrete at the beginning of the 20th century. Folding has become much easier to achieve and more popular because of the use of computers, plastic and compounds in the building process. Here, the formal results of systems thinking (field theory) intersect with the romantic tradition of form-making that is intuitive and anti-hierarchical. — Aaron Betsky

Oblique Circulation: Folding Planes by Benjamin Dillenburger

Folding through Artificial Evolution. The planes are folded so the desired circulation is made possible without the need for stairs, and the predefined room-heights are achieved. Work in progress…. Benjamin Dillenburger

Today, we architects, operate in the order of the rupture of the free plan. The fold separates and unites interior and exterior. The fold of space superimposes distinct elements, and separates, while at the same time, pieces together what originally coexisted. Folded space creates new dense and compact dialectical relation between figure and ground.


[1] Manuel Gauza, The Metapolis Dictionary of Advanced Architecture, Actar Publishers, p.233