Drawing Machines: Beehive Structure

The object is a 2 foot tower, held together by 6 alternating layers of paper plates, put together by three plates that are folded together in fourths. At the bottom, paer plate stands help it up with the plate folded inwards to create a square-valley shape. At the top, a spherical shape is made up of multiple plates pinned together by paperclips to add the rest of the height to the object.

When we were working on the paper plates in class, I did think it smart to start with them as a kind of “building block” given their circular shape, immediately requiring some innovation to fold them up for this project. I liked the idea of pinning several plates together to complete a three-dimensional shape, but I thought of making an object that would be more flat for ease of building. Not only would it provide for some surprising structural integrity, but it would also appear aesthetically pleasing, matching imagery to architectural structure like in New York City’s Hudson Yards (The Beehive comes to mind).

The thing about our initial spherical structure is that they were made of plates folded in threes. I thought of it as a jumping off point to expand the resolution to integrate four folds, which when putting multiple of the same shape together meant appearing flatter. While I thought that would put me off from using it as a base for the two-foot project, I found it was actually pretty cost effective, given that it would be one less plate and less paper clips used to create the shape, compared to the spherical object. So, I began to create more and more, expecting them to fall together as the combined paper plates created an alternating valley/mountain fold that could slot other plates above and below. 

I made six to stack up, but due to the slightly-impercise folds and height, it wasn’t sturdy enough to hold itself together. A solution to this was creating a shaft made up of thinly-folded paper plates, taped together to fit down the center of the object, giving it much more strength. I also found it a perfect stand for the sphere, which could fit right on the pillar, reminiscent of the kinds of pillars in architecture used to pervent earthquakes. To be sure, I also made some supports at the bottom to keep it upright, simply folding and pinning plates inwards. That rounded out the project, which managed to look really nice when put with the other projects in class.

I think this project was great at inspiring my general sense of innovation in class early on. Working off of what we learned initially meant that I would look closely as to what folds and ideas we discussed and learned about in the future, which is mainly why I made my conference project expand upon a small project we did in class.

Author: Jules VanRy