Review of 'Le Corbusier Paper Models: 10 Kirigami Buildings to Cut and Fold'
By Marc Hagan-Guirey
Hone your knife skills, and you can recreate semblances of 10 works of the Modernist master with this challenging collection of model templates devised by British paper artist Marc Hagan-Guirey.
The model-making method used is kirigami, a variation of origami that involves cutting in addition to the typical folding of a single piece of paper. The results, not unlike pop-up cards, are limited to how well a building can be plotted as a two-dimensional pattern, so some are quite abstract.
While Ronchamp is missing from the selection, Hagan-Guirey does include landmarks such as Le Corbusier’s Unité D’Habitation in Marseille, of 1952, and Villa Savoye, of 1931, as well as several important unbuilt works such as the Maison Citrohan, a mass-produced-housing concept inspired by the efficiency of the French automobile and designed with Pierre Jeanneret from 1920 to 1922.
Working with a skilled partner, I attempted to make kirigami models of the latter two examples with fairly successful results. What we learned: PAY CLOSE ATTENTION! Each model has an introductory page with drawings and a brief, engaging project backgrounder, as well as the removable template. These are clearly, though somewhat delicately, marked on the back side with solid lines for cutting and blue or red broken lines to indicate where and how to fold.
The paper is not as weighty as routine model stock, so a super-sharp precision blade, a very good quality cutting surface, and a delicate touch are essential. (We had a few near slips.) The Villa Savoye, in particular, has a series of incisions close together to form the curve of the upper pavilion. (Some calculating was needed to get the piloti at the right height—a printing error the publisher claims will be rectified.)
Now, you may wonder, what to do with these diminutive structures after they’re completed? They need support, so they could be displayed along a shelf backed by a wall. And you can dare visitors to name and date the project. Or you could always send them as greeting cards to fellow disciples of Corbu.