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The AJ’s 12 days of Christmas: Frei Otto

Frei Otto
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Over the next eleven days the AJ takes a look at the architects who have made the headlines this year. Next up: Frei Otto

This year saw the Pritzker Prize team bring forward the announcement of its prize winner when it emerged that Otto had died two weeks before he was due to be revealed as the recipient of the prestigious prize.

It was the culmination of a long career in which the 89-year-old Otto had spent hours researching, experimenting and developing a sensitive but influential architecture.

Otto had pioneered the use of modern lightweight tent-like structures and practiced, according to the prize jury, ‘a holistic and collaborative approach to architecture, working with environmentalists, biologists, engineers, philosophers, historians, naturalists, artists, and other architects’.

Otto became the fortieth architect to be handed the prize which is largely seen as architecture’s highest honour.

As news emerged of both his death and of the Pritzker Prize win tributes poured in. Norman Foster said he had been a ‘great influence’ on his work, while Patrik Schumacher, who was taught by Otto at Stuttgart University, described his work as the ‘only true precursor of parametricism’.

Key projects by Frei Otto

Munich Olympic Park

Munich Olympic Park

Munich Olympic Park

Expo 67 German Pavilion

Expo 67 German Pavilion

Expo 67 German Pavilion

Institute for Lighweight Structures, University of Stuttgart

Institute for Lighweight Structures

Institute for Lighweight Structures

 

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