By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.


Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Ein schöner Abend


The Gold Medal dinner for Frei Otto was a jolly affair, despite the tiresome requirement to wear black tie when the dress code should really have been 'lightweight'!

After a good meal we were treated to a short film featuring the winner and various admirers and collaborators, including Ted Cullinan, Richard Burton and Eva Jiricna. Warm speeches, including the citation written by Tony Hunt, were followed by the performance of a commissioned piece of music from Julian Milone of the Philharmonia Orchestra, also an admirer of Otto's tensile structures. A group of soloists from the orchestra performed the piece, plus a Beethoven string quartet and nuggets from Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera. The acting German ambassador reminded us about several previous German Gold Medal winners, including August Stuler (1858), C R Lepsius (1869), H Schliemann (1885), Wilhelm Dorpfeld (1911) and, of course, the two Germans who became Americans, Walter Gropius (1956) and Mies van der Rohe (1959). Despite being referred to several times as Otto Frei by RIBA Trust chair Tessa Blackstone (she corrected herself gracefully), the great man clearly enjoyed himself - partly, perhaps, because his Gold Medal lecture was saved for the following evening.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters