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cut drawn.

Professional Design Research Project // Patkau Architects

Treatment of conventional construction materials to 

create the unconventional


CUT DRAWN is a professional research project from Patkau Architects that explores various iterative processes of creating architectural spaces with intriguingly simple methods. Through designing cut patterns and pulling them first on plastic, the resultant forms foreshadow how steel would react to the cut pattern. 

design process.


precedent study









Iterate from 2-5

1. precent study: One Fold 

THE IDEA for Cut Drawn originated from the study, “One Fold” completed in 2011 by Patkau Architects. Using inspiration from origami works by Paul Jackson, the idea was to translate the paper one fold technique on steel in larger scales to create instantaneous architectural enclosures. The resultant spatial configurations opened up new pathways of minimalistic construction in moving forward. 

2. synthesis: steel study

CUT DRAWN is where steel is cut and drawn from two opposite ends forcing a flat sheet to buckle and create an enclosure with a ribboning spine. Unlike the first study, Cut Drawn takes inspiration from kirigami, the art of paper cutting as basis of thesis. Steel was the material of choice, being a conventional construction material full of versatile possibilities with its unique properties. Research on the context and materiality of steel were studied.

3. ideate

SMALL spray painted acetate sheets were initially hand cut to test all proposed cut ideations. Plastic foreshadowed cuts that would create equal distribution of force along the surface of steel. Selected cuts are tested on 1/16” steel and tested for breakage and or evenness of translation between materials and scale. 

4. prototype

PROCESS shots of large scale production of Cut Drawn works. Cuts are made using water jet laser cutters, then rolled to ensure an even distribution of force during pulling process. The sheet is then hung from the ceiling with movable leverage and 2 tonnes of weight were then placed beneath. The below image shows the template of various cuts on circular and rounded triangle geometries. 

5. analyze

Rendering using Photoshop to create scaled sensibility of final results in desired size. Steel being incredibly durable and resistant material, makes this enclosure work well in either indoors or outdoor settings. 

Project: Material Operations Publication, Steel Series

Team: Pete Wenger (Supervisor), Jessica Moon

Target User: Public Park Users

Duration: 3 months

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