Contemporary Architecture

FREI OTTO – Olympic Stadium (Munich)

LIFE:

  • Began experimenting with tents for shelter
  • After the war he studied briefly in the United States
  • Visited Erich Mendelsohn, Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra, and Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Began private practice in Germany in 1952

Awards

  • 1974 Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture
  • 1996/7 Wolf Prize in Architecture
  • 2005 RIBA Royal Gold Medal

Style:

  • authority on lightweight tensile and membrane structures
  • concerned with space frames and structural efficiency
  • experimented with inflatable buildings

Inflatable buildings:

  • structure constructed using two layers of membrane connected together
  • cavity formed between the layers is pressurized with air producing a rigid structural element
  • pavilions, airships, furniture, airspace structures, boats, escape slides, security mattresses, swimming pools, coverings, games and castles, air bags

Academics

  • Otto founded the famous Institute for Lightweight Structures at the University of Stuttgart in 1964

List of Buildings:

  • 1967 – West Germany Pavilion at Expo 67 Montreal
  • 1970 – Tuwaiq Palace, Saudi Arabia, with Buro Happold
  • 1972 – Roof for Olympic Stadium, Munich
  • 2000 – Roof structure of the Japanese Pavilion at Expo 2000, Hanover Germany (provided engineering assistance with Buro Happold and architectural collaboration with Shigeru Ban)

Olympic Stadium (Munich):

  • original capacity of 80,000
  • large sweeping canopies of acrylic glass stabilized by steel cables
  • the tensile glass tent-like roof

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