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Six projects by Pritzker winner Frei Otto

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In memory of German architect Frei Otto, the AJ takes a look at six of the Pritzker Prize Laureate’s best known projects

Munich Olympic Park

Completed 1972 

Munich Olympic Park

Working with fellow german architect Gunter Behnisch, Otto designed the lightweight roof structures for Munich’s Olympic Park. The scheme features a large membrane to cover the stands of the stadium, a tensile structure arena, a fabric roof over the Olympic swimming pool supported by a single 80m-tall tower, and hyperbolic membrane canopies to connect the buildings and protect visitors from rain and sun.

Mannheim Multihalle

Completed 1975

Mannheim Multihalle

The Mannheim Multihalle pavilion was designed to host Germany’s Bundesgartenschau - a biennial horticulture show. Otto worked with architects Carlfried Mutschler & Partners on the lattice roof which spans more than 60m. Originally built as a temporary structure, the pavilion still stands in Mannheim and has been the inspiration behind a number of famous gridshell buildings including Cullinan’s Weald and Downland museum.

Expo 67 German Pavilion

Completed 1967

Expo 67 German Pavilion

Otto’s German Pavilion for the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal, Canada is recognised as an early example of large scale, lightweight, passive solar building. Built in just six weeks, the 8,000m² pavilion features a large, steel mesh roof suspended from eight steel masts and covered in a transparent membrane material.

Institute for Lighweight Structures, University of Stuttgart

Completed 1967

Institute for Lighweight Structures

Otto founded the Institute for Lightweight Structures at the University of Stuttgart in 1964, where he pioneered research into these modern construction methods. He later went on to design the institute’s home.

Diplomatic Club, Riyadh

Completed 1980

Diplomatic Club, Riyadh

Otto won the 1998 Aga Khan Award for Architecture for this project which was designed with British engineer Tim Happold. Located within the Diplomatic Quarter of the Tuwaiq Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this tent-like structure is used for receptions and banquets. The interior of the tent features intricate tiling designed by Otto’s daughter, Bettina Otto.

Japanese Pavilion, Hanover Expo

Completed 2000

Japanese Pavilion, Hanover Expo

Working with 2014 Pritzker Prize Laureate Shigeru Ban, Otto designed the Japanese Pavilion for the Hanover Expo in 2000. Built from a grid shell made of recycled paper tubes, the roof spanned 33m covering the 72m-long exhibition hall.

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