female student designing interior architecture

Architecture and Interior Design

Your introduction to architecture in a university environment

Welcome to the Portsmouth School of Architecture. Would you like to use your creativity and making skills to transform buildings and spaces, both inside and out? Architecture and Interior Design courses give students the tools to design and create stunning new spaces and adapt buildings for new purposes.

Architectural Origami

Architects and Interior Designers enjoy origami because they can produce a huge variety of shapes and forms from only a single sheet of paper. Origami models are very structural and can bend, contract and expand - things that buildings can’t do. Designers can adapt particular elements of paper-folded models to create conceptual designs for spatial and structural ideas.

Watch this short clip showing the role of Origami in helping London Architects Make, design and build prefabricated folding kiosks in Canary Wharf. From design brief to conceptual model, origami was crucial to the Architectural and Design process.

Street Kiosk

Origami techniques

Although Origami is known as the art of paper-folding, there is a bit more to it than that. There are three key techniques that can help you transform a piece of paper into a 3D model or form. See if you can match the words to the correct technique, to give you some ideas for what you can do with your paper when it comes to making your own Architectural model!

Your task: From Sheet to Form

Now it’s your turn to create a series of models made from a sheet of paper, and some basic materials.

You can follow the written instructions below, or play the video and build your models alongside some of our Architecture and Interior Design students while they complete the same task, and tell you a bit more about why they chose to study Architecture and Design.

VSS 2021 | Architecture | Architectural Origami

VSS 2021 | Architecture | Architectural Origami

Architects design buildings and play a role in shaping cities, communities and the way we live. Explore the technical and analytical skills you need to begin a career as an architect using paper, in this architectural origami tasks with students and lecturers.

The aim

Create a building, structure or shelter from a sheet of paper, and some basic materials. With each new material, you’ll add to your model, creating shape, strength and design with each new addition.

  1. Using the white sheet of paper, transform it into a 3D form through manipulation, action and folding.
  2. Add to your model using the graph paper. What other layers, shapes or textures can you add to your model?
  3. Using the white piece of card, keep adding to your model. What new things can you try with a more rigid material?
  4. Finally, use either the tracing paper or the coloured piece of card to create features such as doors or windows, or add colour to create a striking design.

What you need

You will need some basic materials. If you don’t have all of these, you can use other similar materials, or even just get extra creative with a simple piece of white paper!

  • A base for your model - ideally a dark coloured piece of paper or card, but you could use a book, or even just build your model of the tabletop or desk.
  • A white sheet of paper
  • A sheet of graph paper 
  • A sheet of tracing paper
  • A coloured piece of card - any colour will do
  • Sellotape
  • A glue stick
  • A figure - maybe Lego, or made out of BluTac

Share your work

Don’t forget to share photos of your models with us. Snap a photo on your phone, scan the QR code and upload your photo.


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