Beyza Uysal

2022 Spring
BS724 Nature Informed Computational Design in Architecture


The project takes the folding pattern of the Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) hindwings as a reference in order to come up with possible architectural design solutions that require flat foldability. The wing structure which is mainly composed of veins and membrane shows close similarities with the retractable roof structures’ parts. Both of the require frame structures for rigidity (the veins) and a cover (the membrane). For this reason, the wing folding mechanism is studied in a way that its’ potentials in retractable roof/canopy/awning design are explored.

The wing folding pattern of the cockchafer is analyzed through the venation drawings and the insect images in many different angles. The folding patterns are determined by the venation patterns. The veins are normally radial to the base of the wing, and this allows inward retraction. This type of retraction creates intricate triangular folding lines between the radially placed veins. This folding pattern is later organized in a way that rigid panels could be flat folded. Maekawa and Kawasaki’s flat foldability theorem is used while organizing the lines and angles of the creases. However, only slight adjustments were needed because hindwing folding in many insects happens in a way that these theorems are applicable.

Lastly, the flat foldability analysis and modeling of the insect wing is mechanized with the help of a string system. The strings pass through venation bend points, or crease points. When the strings are pulled, the frames fold in the order of the hindwing fold. When released, the system is opened flat.

The designed system can create semi-open spaces when in use, and when not in use it can be stored away. This type of use can be preferred for campervans and tiny houses, where the system can be stored under the roof panel.