Conference Program and details of Keynote & Public Lecture Presentations

These details can be downloaded HERE (PDF, 3Mb)


Day 1 Thursday September 1st 2016

Keynote address Nicholas Goldsmith "Shape Making or Formfinding"

Session: Reflections on the Contribution of Frei Otto

Session: Project Focus

Public Lecture Nicholas Goldsmith "From Mass to Membrane" 

Conference and Design Awards Presentation Dinner

Day 2 Friday September 2nd 2016

Keynote Address Ron Van Sluijs "Stadia Roof Topology through Design Methodology"

Session: Experimentation and Digital Systems

Afternoon: Design Workshop

Nicholas Goldsmith

Nicholas Goldsmith is a Senior Principal at FTL Design & Engineering Studio since 1978. Prior to joining the firm, he was a designer at Atelier Frei Otto in Stuttgart, Germany. He is a member of the College of Fellows of the AIA, the IASS, and former Chairman of the Lightweight Structures Association.

Nicholas Goldsmith was in charge of design for many of FTL’s projects, including the award winning Russell Aitken Seabird Aviary at the Bronx Zoo, the award winning DKNY Headquarters Building in New York, and the MOMRA Recreation Center in Saudi Arabia. In addition, he designed the Carlos Moseley Music Pavilion for the Metropolitan Opera and NY Philharmonic a deployable concert facility, traveling to all NYC’s parks.

Nicholas Goldsmith has designed exhibitions including “Under the Sun” an exhibition on solar energy for the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in NY and Smithsonian Institution in ‘98 and ‘99, a worldwide traveling interactive exhibition for the United Nations (UNFPA), and an exhibition for Material Connexion on “Tensions in Architecture”.

He has been featured in innumerable publications including an Architectural Monograph titled: FTL: SOFTNESS, MOVEMENT & LIGHT, published by Academy Editions in 1998, and the entire May 1995 Interiors Magazine.

Nicholas Goldsmith’s academic experience includes Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania from 1990 to 2004 and the 2001 Visiting Professor in Innsbruck, Austria. He was a visiting Professor at the Pratt School of Architecture from 1992 through 1997 and a wide range of international lectures and teaching in the US, the UK, Germany and South America.

Ron Van Sluijs

With a background in Architectural Engineering and training in Europe Ron has particular skills in the structural aspects of architecture, including designs of bespoke roofs and facades, long span structural design and analysis and construction detailing.

Throughout his architectural career, Ron has managed the architectural development and documentation of a variety of large scale buildings including sports stadia, multipurpose arenas, convention centers, airport terminals, subway stations and a number of office blocks.

Ron was the Project Architect for the innovative Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand - the world’s only stadium with a natural grass pitch growing under a fully fixed roof. This project has been made possible through the use of ETFE - A transparent polymer originally developed for the space industry, to clad the stadium’s roof and facades.

He was the Project Architect for the Manila Arena in the Philippines, which is the world’s largest enclosed arena, with a capacity of 50,000, as well as the Taipei Dome - a baseball stadium which forms part of a large commercial mixed use development in Taiwan.

The name Frei Otto (1929-2015) is synonymous with the evolution and development of lightweight structures. Otto exerted a huge influence on the industry by way of his visionary creative concepts, exquisite soap-film and other 3D models and, of course, his completed structures.

Otto was born in Berlin in 1925 and studied architecture there, before serving as a fighter pilot in World War II. The ravages of war created an enormous housing shortage in Germany and Otto considered using tents as a temporary solution. While visiting the USA in the early 1950s he was inspired by the construction of the cable-net roof at the State Fair Arena in Raleigh N.C.

Otto began his architectural practice in 1952. His early hypar or saddle-shaped stressed canvas tent for the music pavilion at the 1955 Federal Garden Exhibition in Kassel brought him considerable attention. He worked alongside the tent-maker Peter Stromeyer, and together they took the art of tent-making to a new level. No longer did tents consist of planar panels. Instead, the surfaces were made from strips, each cut to different patterns to reflect the end-3D shape and the stresses in the structure.  Many contemporary outdoor stage coverings use a variant of this doubly-curved stressed tensile form.