Hornbeam Leaf

Biomimetic Project – Emtech 2012
Axel Körner, Nicolas Cabargas, Yucehn Wang, Jiangyue Xia
Supvisor: George Jeronimidis


The project extract from the biomimetic analysis of the Hornbeam leaf, its unfolding and folding capacity, in order to apply it in a deployable architectural structure. The research of the leaf provided the main ideas to develop the system: On the one hand the structural behaviour. That was controlled by the number of veins that defined the number of folds. On the other hand, the area difference between the folded and an unfolded structure, that depends on the angle of its veins. To a bigger angle more area difference.
Nevertheless, this mean more energy needed to achieve the complete folding. The project started with the experimentation of a multileaves arrangement made it with polypropylene. However, in order to produce a gradient state change instead a fixed step change, the project moved forward with the single leaf arrangement, made it with plywood and hinges, allowing, to reduce the energy needed to fold the structure and to scale up the component. The research was developed combining the digital and the physical experimentations, permitting us, made several analysis to define the component and its combination into a system that define the global geometry.
Furthermore, the system can be an architectural facade or canopy that react to an environmental influence folding or unfolding its components to control the light.