Macromodular Origami - Definitions and Notes
Modular origami is a two stage
paperfolding technique which uses multiple sheets
In the first stage each individual
sheet of paper is folded into a module.
In the second stage
the modules are assembled into a self-integrating
and stable geometric form.
'Self-integrating' means that the
modules should hold firmly together by
themselves. Multiple sheet designs which are
either simple arrangements of several folded
pieces or are integrated by external means such
as glue, tape or thread are not modular origami
Similarly designs which are
integrated by gravity, such as a stack of
triangular section tubes, do not qualify as
modular origami designs, however artfully
There is no particular logic to the
inclusion of the word 'geometric' in this
definition but it is there to reflect the normal
practice within the paperfolding community of
speaking of representational self-integrating
designs as multiple sheet designs rather than as
There is no requirement within the
definition of modular origami that all the
modules should be identical, though they often
The two stages of the modular
process are not as separate as this definition
suggests. In some modular designs, such as Cloud
of Stars pictured left, the folding continues
after the modules have been assembled. I call
these kinds of designs three stage modular
There are, of course, degrees of
stability. As a rough rule of thumb guide I would
expect that a modular design would be able to be
picked up fairly randomly in one hand without
falling apart. Ideally it should be able to be
tossed gently into the air and caught again.
It is also worth noting that there
is no limitation within the definition on the
papershape that the modules are folded from.
Choosing the best paper shape to fold a module
from tends to make the folding process simpler
and more elegant. This matters when you are
making lots of modules.
Macromodular origami is a
development of modular origami in which complete
modular assemblies (known as macromodules) are
combined into integrated second-generation
... either just by themselves or
with the addition of extra modules to act as
separating or joining pieces.
While macromodular structures do not
need to be self-integrating in the same way as
modular assemblies they should not need to be
held together by external means such as glue,
tape or thread.
However a stack of macromodules held
together by nothing except gravity is still
considered to be a macromodular form.