[3D] MA: Modular Structures Research


Dictionary’s definition: The use of individually distinct functional units, as in assembling an electronic or mechanical system.

In design’s context, modularity design is an approach that subdivides a system into smaller parts called modules or skids, that can be independently created and then used in different systems.




The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of modular structure is rigidness. I had imagined modular structures to be rectilinear, but turns out that they can be organic-shaped too!

Coral reefs
Insect’s compound eyes
Chemistry bonds
Fish scales




The Interlace
The Hive
Brick walls



Modular slotted toys
Rubik’s cube



Artwork ‘Helical Incognito Jocose City’ by Clare Nugent

Invisible Cities‘ is a novel by Italo Calvino, it describes various imaginary cities with meticulous and whimsical designs. Design principles such as rhythm and repetition are evident in the imaginary cities, hence we can imagine that these cities are made out of modular structures as well.


All around me:

Time for me to open my eyes and spot all the modularity around me! Will update this section whenever I find something modular!

The pigeon hole cabinets in my hall!
Handy dandy stationery storage container.


Image Sources:

  • iStock. (2017). Square on focus of newly pulled honey bee honeycomb beeswax on…. [online] Available at: http://www.istockphoto.com/sg/photo/beeswax-honeycomb-foundation-close-up-gm505670392-83797649 [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • Patternity. (2017). Patternity. [online] Available at: https://patternity.org/research/onionskincellselthamcollege/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • macrophotography., C. (2017). Coral structure close-up. Dead coral reef macro photo. White coral filter combs macrophotography.. [online] Dreamstime.com. Available at: https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-coral-structure-close-up-dead-coral-reef-macro-photo-white-coral-filter-combs-macrophotography-seashore-biological-background-image94340293 [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • A Moment of Science – Indiana Public Media. (2017). Seeing With Insect Eyes. [online] Available at: http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/insect-eyes/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • Sciencephoto.com. (2017). RDX explosive molecule – Stock Image F003/4913 – Science Photo Library. [online] Available at: http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/408861/view [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • 123RF Stock Photos. (2017). [online] Available at: https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/fish_scales.html?mediapopup=15544520 [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • Withnoroof.com. (2017). Clare Nugent reads Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’ | withnoroof. [online] Available at: http://www.withnoroof.com/?p=2100 [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • My Blog City by Vincent Loy. (2017). 15 Most Stunning Completed Architectural Projects in Singapore. [online] Available at: https://vincentloy.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/15-most-stunning-completed-architectural-projects-in-singapore/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • LockerDome. (2017). Heatherwick Studio completes tornado-like university building in Singapore. [online] Available at: https://lockerdome.com/6411052418074945/7504167866482452 [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • ninja, S. and ninja, S. (2017). Lego Iron Man Sculpture. [online] Instructables.com. Available at: http://www.instructables.com/id/Lego-Iron-Man-Sculpture/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • Board games, j., games, B. and Gaming, J. (2017). Buy Jenga The Original Board Game from Hasbro Gaming at Argos.co.uk – Your Online Shop for Board games, Board games, jigsaws and puzzles, Toys.. [online] Argos. Available at: http://www.argos.co.uk/product/1292271 [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • Haynes, J. (2017). Modular Slotted Toys. [online] Subtledesigner.blogspot.sg. Available at: http://subtledesigner.blogspot.sg/2011/02/modular-slotted-toys.html [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • bsdesigns.info. (2017). How To Make brick walls VX9S – bsdesigns.info. [online] Available at: http://www.bsdesigns.info/1944/ideas/how-to-make-brick-walls-vx9s/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].
  • Rubinstein, H. (2017). Who Made That Rubik’s Cube?. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/magazine/rubiks-cube.html [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].

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