Einstein said, “Things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” So why do we have the tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be? What if a partnership between AI and the ancient practice of origami holds a key to streamlining?

Have you ever thought of construction as a way of communicating? Tal Friedman does, and as founder and CEO of the innovative company, FOLDSTRUCT, he’s setting out to optimize design-to-fabrication construction methods.

Friedman’s mission is to build things simply, with minimal processes and minimal materials. As a tangible example, he suggests that the art of paper folding, origami, illustrates the possibilities of doing just that. In episode 31 of the Bridging the Gap Podcast, I got to sit down with Tal as he unpacked his innovative concept pairing AI and origami.

The design-to-fabrication workflow Friedman has developed uses digital optimization, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to create iconic architecture within the constraints of mainstream construction materials.

The reality is, artistic creativity in 3D models and shop drawings meet restraints in real-life construction. There’s a gap between 3D designs created on a computer and the reality of the manufacturing floor. Friedman feels his concept of foldable construction might be a way to integrate the ideal with the reality, always taking into account the properties of the materials that will be folded. Project examples are roofs, building skins and façades using sheet metal, plastic, composites, and bio-plastics.

With a motto of “Don’t mold it, fold it,” Friedman’s company presents an alternative form of construction. Optimized automated construction methods, aided by design-to-fabrication AI, present opportunities for optimal fabrication. Customized forms – for instance free-form design – allow developers to achieve the iconic “dream forms” in their projects that will result in one-of-a-kind landmark projects. People don’t know how buildings were designed, they only know how that project looks when it’s finished. You can see examples of unique FOLDSTRUCT projects during the podcast.

Although the cautious among the AEC industry are typically slow to adopt new technologies, Friedman explained that the response by fabricators has been positive and receptive to this alternative form of construction.

Bridging the Gap Podcast, episode 31 with guest Tal Friedman of Foldstruct.
Listen to episode 31 of Bridging the Gap today for a deep dive into this unique and innovative concept.


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