This project presents a proposal for an exhibition building. Due to the requirement for a flagship building, the goal was to create a structure with a distinct form and height for a two floor building, with approximately a 600m2 footprint.

The concept of the Leaf building is seen as a fallen leaf that protects the functions beneath it. The accent of the composition is the leaf-like roof inspired by an origami structure created by the mathematician Hideaki Azuma. In nature, the leaf venation serves not only for transporting fluids but also as a mechanical support of the leaf’s lamina and to resist natural phenomena like wind and rain. 

In our project, the creases of the leaf-like structure mimic a leaf’s veins and provide stability to the structure.

The original geometry was analysed digitally using structure and light analysis software, and manually using paper and hard card board kinetic models. The original origami based leaf-like structure was simplified due to its complexity. The final geometry is defined by two helixes joined by a diagonal curve that form the shape of a leaf and serve as basis for creating the leaf’s creases.

The project’s working method is Integrated Design Process. It provides interdisciplinary approach that investigates technical parameters such as structural behaviour, simultaneously aesthetic parameters resulting in a high performance building design.

The structure mimics the natural curling of a leaf caused by dehydration which is evident at the end of a leaf’s life cycle. The curling of the roof structure resulted in two different sizes for the front and back glazed facades; this maximised the intake of soft northern natural light, and decreased the intake of strong southern natural light. The result fits very well with exhibition space illuminance requirements. The final form of the roof and its orientation was achieved by numerous simulations of natural lighting conditions, as well as the curling degree of the leaf-like roof.

The exhibition hall gets an average illuminance of approximately 350 lux. The hall’s illuminance is more or less evenly distributed and does not produce large areas that are excessively lit or darkened, which allows showing exhibits depending completely or partially on natural light.

A folded structure of CLT plates was the most logical solution for an origami-like form. Initially, a linear structure consisting of glue-laminated beams was developed and used for the structural analysis due to its simplicity compared to the planar one. Structural analysis aimed towards discovering the reason behind its stability. Upon, the displacement values of each iteration were compared, and showed that the increase in the curling degree increases the structure’s stability. Therefore, the more folded (curled) the roof and the walls are, the more stable the structure is.