Research Publications on Transformable Architecture: Deployable Structures

Deployable structures can transform and/or expand and contract due to their geometric, material and mechanical properties; applications spread across multiple fields including aerospace technology and temporary, mobile and transformable architecture. Deployable structures allow a maximum motion, expansion and contraction with the minimum energy input. This technology enables an architecture that can be light, adaptable, rapidly built, reusable and that makes efficient use of space and materials. All these qualities therefore enable deployable structures to fully embrace the concept of sustainability. In an age where society evolves in unpredictable ways, were programmatic possibilities for architecture change rapidly, the emerging field of deployable structures is receiving increased interest as it offers a novel and versatile field for research and innovation for both its theory and practice.

E.RivasAdrover_origami-scissor hinged wa

Origami-Scissor Hinged Geometry Method

E.RivasAdrover_waterbomb origami-scissor

The diamond origami-scissor hinged pattern marks a new type of thick origami that can not only fold and unfold, but also expand and contract (project below). This was done by applying the ‘form generation method of relative ratios’ (FGMORR) [Rivas-Adrover 17] for two-bar scissors to the thick origami. This research tests whether this method can be extended and generalized to other types of origami. The origami-scissor hinged geometry method is here applied to the waterbomb of thick panels making a waterbomb origami-scissor hinged pattern. While the waterbomb origami of thick panels has one degree of freedom, the waterbomb origami-scissor hinged pattern has two degrees of freedom as it can independently fold and unfold as an origami, and expand and contract as a scissor hinged structure. This creates a new research branch of expandable thick origami.

The ‘form generation method of relative ratios’ (FGMORR) [Rivas-Adrover 17] has been applied to the ‘origami of thick panels’ [Chen et al. 15] because this method to make thick origami can be extended and generalized to different types of origami, and therefore the origami-scissor hinged geometry method can also be applied to all these different types of origami, only if the thick origami panels are made of equal or proportional thicknesses.
Origami-scissor hinged patterns provide an extra degree of freedom, therefore origami patterns that could be folded can now also contract and occupy much smaller volumes. This would be useful in applications where a high ratio of deployed-to stowed volume is required such as space applications, earthbound transportable applications, and to create adaptable spaces and transformable environments in permanent architecture.

Rivas-Adrover, Esther, “ORIGAMI-SCISSOR Hinged Geometry Method”, Origami7, The proceedings from the 7th International Meeting on Origami in Science, Mathematics, and Education held in Oxford UK, Volume Three: Engineering One, Ed. J.Lang, Bolitho and You, Tarquin, 2018,  pp 779-793.



A New Hybrid Type of Deployable Structure: Origami-Scissor Hinged


Throughout the history of deployable structures origami and scissor-hinged have been different types out of many others that exist. This geometry research unifies both types and makes an origami-scissor structure. This is done by applying the ‘form generation method of relative ratios’ (FGMORR) [Rivas-Adrover 17] for two-bar scissors to the thick origami. This has been applied to the diamond origami of thick panels. The resulting diamond origami-scissor hinged pattern can not only fold and unfold but also expand and contract. This is a new type of origami, expandable thick origami, and also a new hybrid type of deployable structure: origami-scissor hinged. This diamond origami-scissor hinged pattern can transform as an origami and as a scissor hinged structure independently or simultaneously, therefore the scissors provide the origami with an extra degree of freedom: origami patterns that had one degree of freedom now have two degrees of freedom. A prototype of the diamond origami-scissor hinged pattern has been built that demonstrates that this transformable system is kinematically compatible without any deformation of parts. 

Rivas-Adrover, Esther, “A New Hybrid Type of Deployable Structure: ORIGAMI-SCISSOR Hinged”, Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures, Vol. 59 No.3, September n. 197, 2018, pp. 183-190.

Transforming Architecture Made with Scissor Hinged Deployable Structures: Alhambra Pavilions in Cambridge Market Square

Scissor-hinged deployable structures, made by units of bars joined by a pivot, can generate large complex lattice structures that can expand and contract. So far scissor-hinged deployable structures had been designed one by one, and scissor hinged surfaces have been made of grid lines made of triangles and squares. The ‘form generation method of relative ratios’ (FGMORR) by Rivas-Adrover can be applied to infinite combinations of lines and can therefore generate infinite scissor-hinged structures with optimum deployment. This is here demonstrated by applying the FGMORR to a combination of lines from the Alhambra in order to make a new scissor-hinged surface. Also, while so far scissor-hinged technology has been used to generate surfaces, here it has been demonstrated that the FGMORR allows for creating not only the surface or roof, but also its supports.
While this research extends the theory of the FGMORR for scissor -hinged deployable structures, it has also given a clear outline of the assembly and deployment strategy, as well as a potential intervention. The Alhambra pavilions in Cambridge Market Square demonstrate that this sustainable technology can embody cultural symbols, and can embrace the concepts of identity, place and culture; this therefore allows a conversation equally relevant that interacts with contemporary life, future technologies, and historical heritage.

Rivas-Adrover, Esther, “Transforming Architecture Made With Scissor Hinged Deployable Structures: Alhambra Pavilions in Cambridge Market Square”, The 5th International Conference on Architecture and Built Environment S.ARCH held in Venice, Italy, Get It Published, 04.055, 2018, pp. 760-770.


Classification of Geometry for Deployable Structures used for Innovation: Design of new Surfaces with Scissor 2 Bar, and Form Generation Method Of Relative Ratios


This research proposes a classification of geometry for deployable structures. This classification system applied to scissor structures can lead to architectural innovation. This is demonstrated in the case study of a new design for surfaces based on scissors 2 bar by the concept of intersecting five lines and creating a five-way grid. Through this case study a form generation method of relative ratios is formulated that can be applied to infinite combinations of lines and therefore generate infinite scissor hinged structures. This method allows for the scissor surface to have an optimum deployment, and to be made of a minimum number of different sizes of bars. So far scissor surfaces had been designed one by one, and had been made of grid lines that make triangles or squares. Further manipulation of lines, surfaces and solids can lead to further architectural innovation.

Rivas-Adrover, Esther, "Classification Of Geometry For Deployable Structures Used For Innovation: Design Of New Surfaces With Scissor 2 Bar, And Form Generation Method Of Relative Ratios", International Journal of Computational Methods and Experimental Measurements, Vol. 5, No. 4, 2017, pp. 464–474. 


Deployable Structures

"Deployable structures can expand and contract due to their geometrical, material and mechanical properties – offering the potential to create truly transforming environments. This book looks at the cutting edge of the subject, examining the different types of deployable structures and numerous design approaches. Filled with photographs, models, drawings and diagrams, Deployable Structures is packed with inspirational ideas for architecture students and practitioners." Editor, Laurence King Publishing Ltd


"In The Seven Lamps of Architecture, written in 1849 at the height of the Industrial Revolution, John Ruskin drew a boundary around the definition of architecture that rejected the then-emerging steel structures as a corrosive influence on the pure principles of timeless static stone. Le Corbusier exploded this definition in the early twentieth century, declaring the house to be a ‘machine for living’ and setting the scene for a new architecture that would embrace the emerging technologies. In the 1960s Ron Herron of Archigram proposed the ‘Walking City’ and in the BBC’s 1989 television series Building Sites Norman Foster chose the jumbo jet as his favourite building.

With this trajectory, a book reviewing the influence of deployable structures on architecture seems like a natural progression. Esther Rivas Adrover’s opening sentence – ‘This book is living proof of the intrinsic synergy that connects all life with architecture’ – proposes an exciting new chapter in the history of the ‘Mother of the Arts’. Within this emerging field the author proposes a classification of deployable structures, providing an interesting basis for a structured approach to thinking about the typologies that have been developed and illustrating clearly the potential of a dynamic architecture. Architects will find in this book many inspiring examples of ingenious ways of transforming structures to create a responsive, organic architecture. Structural engineers will be stimulated to equip themselves with a deeper understanding of how they can support the flights of fancy that will inevitably emerge from the architect’s imagination, as they extend their palette to incorporate this challenging new technology."

Founder of Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners in 1985, Founder of Glass Light and Special Structures in 2012.

E.RivasAdrover_Estructuras Desplegables.

ESTRUCTURAS DESPLEGABLES, Arquitectura, Ingeniería y Diseño

“Las estructuras desplegables se pueden transformar, expander y contraer debido a sus características geométricas, materiales y mecánicas, ofreciendo el potencial de crear entornos verdaderamente cambiantes. Este libro considera las innovaciones mas recientes en este campo y examina los distintos tipos  de estructuras desplegables, así como numerosos enfoques de diseño. Lleno de fotografías, maquetas, ilustraciones y diagramas, Estructuras desplegables esta repleto de ideas inspiradoras destinadas a profesionales y estudiantes de arquitectura.” Editor, Laurence King Publishing Ltd


“En Las siete lámparas de arquitectura (1849), en el apogeo de las Revolución Industrial, John Ruskin traza un límite en torno a la definición de arquitectura que tacha las entonces emergentes estructuras de acero de influencia dañina sobre los fundamentos naturales de la piedra inmutable y eterna. Le Corbusier dinamita esta definición a principios del siglo XX, declarando que la casa es una “maquina para vivir” y estableciendo el contexto de una nueva arquitectura que abraza las tecnologías emergentes. En la década de 1960 Ron Heron de Archigram concibe las ‘ciudades andantes’ y en la serie de televisión de la BBC de 1989 Building Sites Norman Foster escoge el avión jumbo como su edificio favorito.
Considerando esta trayectoria, un libro que repasa la influencia de las estructuras desplegables en la arquitectura es una progresión natural. La primera frase de Esther Rivas Adrover (‘Este libro es la prueba viviente de la sinergia que conecta la vida con la arquitectura’) introduce un capitulo apasionante y novedoso en la historia de la ‘madre de las artes’. En este nuevo campo la autora ofrece una clasificación de estructuras desplegables, aportando una interesante base para una reflexión estructurada sobra las tipologías que se han desarrollado, al tiempo que ilustra claramente su potencial para crear una arquitectura dinámica. Los arquitectos encontraran en este libro numerosos ejemplos inspiradores de ingeniosas transformaciones de estructuras que resultan en una arquitectura reactiva y orgánica. Los ingenieros estructurales ahondaran en la comprensión de las formas en que se sustentan las fantásticas ideas que inevitablemente nacerán de la imaginación del arquitecto, incorporando esta nueva y desafiante tecnología.”

Founder of Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners in 1985, Founder of Glass Light and Special Structures in 2012.

Rivas-Adrover, Esther, "Estructuras Desplegables: Arquitectura, Ingeniería y Diseño ", Promopress: España, 2015.

 © Esther Rivas-Adrover

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