Contemporary Architecture

FREI OTTO – Olympic Stadium (Munich)


  • 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


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


  • 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


  • 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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Contemporary Architecture

Hiroshi Hara – Sappora Dome Japan


  • b. 1936 – d 2007
  • Also an author on architecture.
  • Was a professor at the University of Tokyo until 1997

Major Projects:

  • Yamato International, Ota, Tokyo, 1987
  • Kenju Park ‘Forest House’, Nakaniida, Miyagi Prefecture, 1987
  • Lida City Museum, Lida, Nagano Prefecture, 1988
  • Umeda Sky Building, Kita-ku, Osaka, 1993
  • Miyagi Prefectural Library, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, 1997
  • Kyoto Station Complex, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 1997
  • Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Hokkaidō, 2001
  • University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus II, Tokyo, 2002
  • Aizu Gakuho Junior and Senior School, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, 2007


  • “ Sustainable Architecture”
  • Thinker + Designer
  • Lessons from Vernacular Architecture to Future
  • Latest Technologies

Sapporo Dome:

  • Toyohira-ku , Sapporo, Japan,
  • Opened  : June 3, 2001
  • Capacity  : 53,845
  • Field dimensions :
    • Left Field – 100 m (328.1 ft)
    • Center Field – 122 m (400.3 ft)
    • Right Field – 100 m (328.1 ft)
  • Designed for Foorball World Cup 2002 :
    • Germany vs Saudi Arabia
    • Argentina vs England
    • Italy vs Ecuador

The Competition

  • Competition in 1996 ( both design and technology )
  • An all weather dome
  • Best among world wide contenders
  • Silvery egg-shaped dome

Characteristics – Two Arenas

  • Always a green field
  • One closed and another open
  • Pitch is always in good condition
  • Both arenas can be transformed to most appropriate mode within five hours

Characteristics – Sports Garden

  • Five botanical strips parallel to boulevard
  • Each strip have its own unique nature
  • Trees surround the entire area
  • Walkways
  • Ever-changing and Ever-growing components provide scenery

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Contemporary Architecture

Palazzetto dello Sport – Pieri Luigi Nervi

This research on Palazzetto dello Sport by Pieri Luigi Nervi was was done for a class presentation . I found it quite difficult to accumulate data on this building. The internet seems to have very little info on it. So here is a comprehensive study of the palazzatto dello Sport.

The study on this building was done before I actually reached Rome during my summer Internship. Believe it or not,  I actually saw this building quite accidentally. The thought of this being in Rome never occurred to me during my visit. I was on my way back to the railway station after visiting the MAXXI by Zaha Hadid when I actually came a cross this structural wonder.

Do go through the slideshow at the end for a good collection of images. You can also find some rare ones which i managed to scan from our Insti library books.

General Facts:
Location: Rome, Italy.
Building Type: Indoor Arena
Built for the 1960 Summer Olympics, it has a 3,500 seating capacity.
It hosted boxing among other sports during the Olympic Games.
Presently the Palazzetto dello Sport hosts the volley matches.

Key features:
Innovative Concrete Dome
Continuous ribbon windows
The elegantly ribbed, white-painted concrete ceiling.

Structural Design Innovation:

The principles of isostatic stress to minimize the material requirements of steel-reinforced, concrete, long-span structures.The pre-cast, vaulted ribs and fan-shaped, ribbed support columns of this 330 ft. dome follow the isostatic lines of principle stress, those in which theoretically no shear stress is induced, thus reducing the total use of concrete.
The ribbing of the dome and fans also provide a lateral loading system, by maximizing the cross-sectional area of the dome, accommodating for asymmetrical loading conditions.
Nervi’s plastic use of steel-reinforced concrete expressed the lines of principle stress with a marriage of aesthetics and engineering efficiency.By slowly deconstructing the Palazzo dello Sport, we may trace the primary force members (from the dome through its 48 fanned structural members and inclined support columns) as they transmit their load to the foundation along the tangent plane from the thrust of the dome, seating banks and peripheral gallery.
Note particularly the angular displacement of the primary columns as the resultant shifts to accommodate the thrust of the dome and gallery roof.

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