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Frei Otto Awarded 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize Posthumously

The famous German Engineer - Architect Frei Otto has been awarded the 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize one day after his death.

Frei Otto was regarded as the most influential person to drive the modern move to adopt large span lightweight structures using fabrics, timber gridshells and cablenets.

He was very passionate about sharing his knowledge and ideas through the establishment of the Institute of Lightweight Structures at Stuggart University and hence its broad range of publications as well as a large number of students that spent time there.


The Institut building itself was a bold design using a doubly curved tensioned cablenet structure. It was a "prototype" for the stunning 1967 German Expo in Montreal which in turn was a precurser for the magnificent structures built for the 1972 Munich Olympics.

He instilled a deep understanding of structural form through the use of carefully constructed physical models. His "soap films" models defined the shapes used by fabric structures for decades and the early computer models incorporated a soap film analogy for basic form-finding. He used hanging chain models to determine the form of his timber shells.

Closer to our roots, the MSAA / LSAA founder, Vinzenz Sedlak was a great friend of Frei Otto and worked for a period at the IL. Frei Otto visited Australia in the early 1980s and met many pioneers of our industry.

LSAA Founder Vinzenz Sedlak (L) with Frei Otto at the LSRU in 1980

The MSAA / LSAA Founder Vinzenz Sedlak (L) with Frei Otto in 1980 at the LSRU at the University of NSW. The MSAA was to be formed the following year.

More detail can be found at: http://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/news

The following selection of images depict his cablenet structures at the 1967 World Expo in Montreal, one image of the Institut in Stuttggart and several of the various stadia at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

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