Vertical Folded Plate: Simulated Architecture with Mass Timber and Faceted Space

Vertical Folded Plate is a historical and technological exploration of folded plate design pushed to its limits. Since 1950s folded plate design and mass timber innovation since the 1990s, the need for these two worlds to collide is apparent in 21st Century design—to reveal scarcely known social and ecological benefits that each would otherwise not bring on their own. A new design approach to multi-story design can expand on the proven benefits of mass timber as a renewable material. To prototype the synthesis of a space created by folded mass timber plates, the vertical span of an inhabitable column (as used for vertical circulation, services and daylight) was structurally analyzed to test both precedent and exploratory forms in order to achieve socially-significant spaces.
The study traces folded plate design from Sergio Musmeci’s approach to concrete architecture to Chris Robeller’s synthesis of precision routed mass timber panel joinery. The modern combination calls for a modern visual analysis method. In this study, column-like spaces created with folded plate were analyzed using structural finite element analysis (FEA) to visually represent how folded geometry supports both physical and social forces. Prototyped on a site as context for an architectural work, the approach serves as a catalyst for future innovation in material and form. The design of a vertical folded plate-inspired space charts a new expectation for sustainability and tech-driven architecture.

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Nicholas Peruski

Nicholas Peruski is a graduate student pursuing his Master of Architecture degree at Lawrence Technological University. With a history of leading the College of Architecture and Design’s AIAS and NOMAS chapters, he helps bring creative learning, social issues and networking to fellow students beyond the design studio. With an excellence for building structures and physics principles, he has brought his passion for design education and mentorship into a teaching assistant role for architecture structures courses. He is now applying similar structural and material technology learnings to his thesis research. While in his last year of studies, he currently works as an architectural designer in a Detroit design firm that specializes in sports architecture and Detroit-local planning. Nicholas uses his range of skills and experiences to advance innovation in architectural technology, social causes and sustainability.