Sculpting Paper into Intricate Building Structures


Architect Christina Lihan creates sculptural paper reliefs of skyscrapers, cityscapes and historical buildings. “She carves, cuts, scores, bends and folds watercolor paper by hand to form facades that come alive with shadows, texture, light and details.” [1]

Notes by the artist about her work process (retrieved from Lihan’s website):

I usually start my pieces with sketches, sketched on site and from my imagination. If the piece is from existing buildings or homes, I will take the photos on site, if possible, or ask the client for photos. I will show the client the composition, make adjustments, and then start cutting! In the case of the two huge pieces for The Spire in midtown Atlanta, I drew charcoal sketches at roughly a tenth of the scale, then enlarged each sketch to the exact size of the piece. From this enlarged drawing, I will lay out the buildings and start cutting! The sketch in all cases acts as my “template” which I cut the paper from. I am constantly resizing the cut pieces and going back and forth to get the perspective as accurate as I can. I don’t construct any pieces with a measured perspective, I just eyeball everything (quite the opposite from a trained architect’s way of working!). The images on this page show the process of putting together some larger pieces. The Spire pieces were each 4′ x 8′ and are of the downtown and midtown Atlanta skylines.

lihan_studio_07 lihan_studio_05 lihan_studio_03 lihan_studio_04 lihan_studio_02 lihan_studio_06
1."Artist's Statement." Retrieved on August 5th, 2011.

Photos © Lihan Studio

Link via designboom

Adriana de Barros

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Adriana has created successful projects for over 15 years in the fields of design, illustration, fashion and web. She is the Webby-winning designer and editor-in-chief of Scene 360's Illusion magazine. When not online, she is enjoying the quiet life walking her shih tzu at seaside. Follow the author @scene360, and view more articles.