Origami Influences and Improves Drywall Capabilities

Reimagined origami has opened new doors for more intricate, stronger drywall corners and curves.
By Ron Perry
August 31, 2021

Complex curves and corners have plagued drywall contractors for years. Difficult to produce and more susceptible to damage, these intricate shapes previously required thin drywall, and an increased number of studs, not to mention a mountain of headaches if it cracked or split. Even traditional 90º angles come with their own problems over time if damaged, requiring repairs to be completed by a professional contractor. To remedy these headaches, there’s a new process called origami.

Caption: University of Massachusetts Amherst John W. Olver Design Building; Photo courtesy: PDC Inc.

How it works

This custom cut drywall solution uses a combination of gypsum, wood, plastic and even cement board to complete complex assemblies. Small, intricate cuts create slits and grooves in the drywall, which then can then be folded, much like the traditional Japanese paper art it gets its name from, into various shapes. All this work is done in a warehouse, offsite from the project, and brought in fully formed and then installed. This reduces installation time, cuts labor costs and allows for incredible design flexibility. An origami installation is more durable than a traditional drywall installation, reducing the possibility for damage to vulnerable areas like corners and doorways.

Caption: The SoNo Collection; Photo courtesy: PDC Inc.


Because the drywall system is so customizable, it gives architects, designers and builders increased flexibility when it comes to the design elements of a building. Corners can be created in a variety of degree ranges without the need for metal beads or other installation elements ruining the edge. Rounded walls, ceilings and other installations can be created with ease and installed all in one piece.

Origami in action

Origami can be used to add stylish and practical design elements to buildings. One successful installation took place at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Built between 2000 and 2002, the unique dome-shaped building changed the Springfield skyline. The Isenberg School of Management and the John W. Olver Design Building on the University of Massachusetts’ Amherst campus completed in 2018 and 2017, respectively, have modern features created by incorporating Origami into the design and construction. And finally, the SoNo Collection, an upscale shopping mall in Norwalk, Conn., was completed in 2019. This facility likewise features an incredible, curved entryway. Created and implemented seamlessly with the help of origami, the curves, angles and design elements of these stunning pieces of architecture could not have been achieved using traditional drywall techniques.

Easy to repaiR

In a traditional drywall installation, a metal bead is added to fuse two pieces of drywall together to form the corner. If a corner created in this fashion is damaged, a new bead needs to be installed, along with several layers of joint compound. This repair job is complex, requiring the assistance of a professional to ensure it is done correctly. Paper-faced vinyl trims are also an option for corners. A less complex install option, it too requires a professional to replace the damaged portion and finish the area with joint compound and sanding. Damage to origami corners is often less severe and often require an easy fix. All that needs to be done is the application of a little joint compound to fill the dent followed by some light sanding. This can be accomplished by a maintenance worker quickly and easily.

An inventive solution

Origami may have been invented in Japan more than a thousand years ago, but today’s reimagined artform has opened new doors and opportunities, creating more intricate, prefabricated, stronger and easy to repair drywall corners and curves.

Featured photo caption: University of Massachusetts Amherst Isenburg School Of Management; Photo courtesy: PDC Inc.

by Ron Perry
With more than two decades of experience, Ron Perry is a seasoned and capable leader of PDC Inc., working with the board of directors and other executives to establish short- and long-term goals. A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, he presides over the PDC workforce, ensuring resources are allocated properly and developing strategies to continue company growth. He was integral in the opening of their new office in Norwalk CT, following the completion of their work on the SoNo Collection shopping center.

Related stories

Ethically Blending Design Concepts During the Multifamily Boom
By Blima Ehrentreu
With multifamily becoming the predominantly accessible housing source, developers are navigating the ethics of incorporating fashion, function, technology and sustainability into the designs of these projects.
Closeout: The Water Is Wide
A new fixed-span bridge replaces two old bridges—one fixed-span, the other swing-span—connecting Harkins Island, North Carolina, to the mainland.
Liftin' on a Prayer: Jon Bon Jovi's New Nashville Bar
By David McMillin
For DPR Construction, building Jon Bon Jovi’s new five-story bar in downtown Nashville meant working around 16,000 daily pedestrians, a packed entertainment schedule and a very tight footprint.

Follow us

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay in the know with the latest industry news, technology and our weekly features. Get early access to any CE events and webinars.