Origamic Architecture: Stunning Sculptures Cut Out of Paper

In the Japanese paperfolding art of origami, cutting the paper is frowned upon. But in 1981, Masahiro Chatani, professor of Architecture at Tokyo Institute of Technology proved that papercutting could indeed produce stunning pieces of art.

Along with his colleague Keiko Nakazawa, Chatani developed Origamic Architecture, a variation of kirigami (itself a variation of origami where cuts were allowed), where you only needed an X-acto knife and a ruler to create complex 3-dimensional structures out of a single sheet of paper.

Origamic Architecture sculptures range from (the relatively simple) geometric patterns to famous buildings' facades. It's like 3-D pop-up greeting cards, but much, much more complex. While looking at the examples below, keep this in mind: everything's done with the simple cuts of the knife.

Simple cuts can result in stunning geometric shapes - from Gerry Stormer's gallery (click the artist's name for more):

Stairs to Paradise by Gerry Stormer (Photo: Carl Uetz)

Diagonal Steps by Gerry Stormer (Photo: Carl Uetz)

From the master himself, Masahiro Chatani's origamic architecture creations:

More Origamic Architecture buildings, by Willem (see also his new exhibit: Topography-Memory, Origamic Architecture through India):

Here are some MC Escher inspired designs, from the fantastic gallery of Ingrid Siliakus:

By Ingrid Siliakus, based on Escher's Ascending and Descending (comparison)

By Ingrid Siliakus, based on Escher's Cycle (comparison)

Some are very artistic, like the Origamic Architecture sculptures by Maria Victoria Garrido (Marivi):

Marivi's Heraldy is also a very creative use of Origamic Architecture:

Some Origamic Architectures sculptors took it a step further: creating a fully 3-dimensional sculptures that "pop" out of the card when opened. For example, take a look at Keiko Nakazawa's art:

Rat by Keiko Nakazawa

The Hare by Keiko Nakazawa

If you have any more noteworthy examples, please let me know!

See also previously on Neatorama:

- Richard Sweeney's Paper Sculptures
- Kako Ueda's Cut Paper Art
- Peter Callesen's Artwork

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Newest 5 Comments

i also do this type of paper cutting. i love doing it.
yes, it is tedious, but i zone out while doing this, it can be very relaxing, and very very rewarding too.
i use the xacto blades also.
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