Frei Otto, winner of the 2015 Pritzker Prize and a pioneer in innovative lightweight structures, has spent 60 years conducting relevant and useful research on tensile materials, membranes and architecture. German-born Otto spent 2 years in a French POW camp working as a field architect and building makeshift camps before pursuing a career in architecture and civil engineering. His work is democratic, close to nature, light, economical and durable.
Here are 15 of these innovative projects by Frei Otto:
1. Tuwaiq Palace by Fray Otto
Tuwaiq Palaceis a response to the unique opportunities offered by the location, aProjectworthy of the majestic headland overlooking the sprawling Wadi Hanifah below.
The building design, designed by Frei Otto, includes an 800 meter long curved 'living wall' enclosing a lush garden, with five cantilevered span structures (tents) along the wall providing shade.
At the heart of the concept is the need for physical protection of the environment in contrast to the desire to see the unique panorama available on the site. The concept became one in a series of contrasts: light and heavy, garden and desert, modern and traditional technology, openness and solidity.
2. The German Pavilion
The German Pavilion was part of the modernist demonstration of the potential of technology, prefabrication and mass production to give architecture a new humanitarian direction. This remarkable collection at the Expo was the culmination of modern meliorism and its tragic swan song; Since then, the world has never seen such a unique and hopeful display of innovative architecture. Otto believed his folding awnings promised an economical, durable and highly versatile architectural solution.
3. Olympic Stadium, Munich
A structure that flows continuously across the ground imitating the curtains and rhythmic elevations of the Swiss Alps, a structure suspended like a cloud that seems to float above the terrain that branches out between the swimming pools, the gymnasium and the main stadium, the roof of the Olympic Stadium Munich's stadium, which encompasses and unites the stadium, running tracks and pools, was designed by Frei Otto using computer-aided mathematical processes to determine its shape and behavior.
4. Multihalle, Mannheim
It consists of a filigree half-timbered structure that includes several rooms: a separate event room (Königssaal), corridors, open spaces and various operating facilities. This wooden lattice roof is still the largest of its kind in the world and contains no right angles or formwork in the park.Landscapebiomorphic. The Multihalle consists of two housings connected by a covered walkway. The whole structure measures 160 x 115 meters; the highest point of the dome is 20 m above the ground. Its largest span is 60 m, the largest 85 m. The shell consists of two or four layers of interlocking Canadian truss slats spaced 50 cm apart. Each grid slat is 5.5 cm wide.
5. Institute for Lightweight Construction
In 1966, Frei Otto erected a test building on the Stuttgart-Vaihingen university campus to test the construction and assembly of the Montreal Pavilion. The net has a mesh size of 50 cm and was prefabricated in four panels, which were assembled into two symmetrical sections on site and suspended from surrounding ropes. The tubular steel mast was lifted with a crane and provisionally secured with ropes. The ridge and eye edge cables were attached to the post, and the netting was pulled evenly and slowly down the length of the post. After two years of decommissioning, the test building was dismantled, rebuilt 2 km away and expanded to become the headquarters of the Institute for Lightweight Construction.
6. The Japanese Pavilion
The Japan Pavilion for Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany, designed by Frei Otto, was a checkerboard-like structure made from recyclable paper tubes, leading to a building containing beehives. The protection of the "environment" was the theme of the exhibition in Hanover and the concept developed for the realization of the Japan Pavilion was the creation of a structure whose materials can be recycled during dismantling. Ban designed a curved paper tunnel supported by a matrix of recycled paper tubes, making his construction as low-tech as possible. The corrugated form was made of cardboard tubes 440, 12 cm in diameter and 40 m long. The membrane structure also covered the paper, although for fire safety reasons it was necessary to add a PVC membrane, made in Japan, consisting of five layers of fire protection and waterproofing, which allowed natural light to enter the room.
The aviary built in 1981 is a visionary construction. It is 18 meters high and covers an area of 5,000 square meters covered with a fine stainless steel mesh. Inside is an idyllic landscape with a small creek where birds can fly freely like in nature.
8. Tent of the Heart of the Diplomatic Club
The curved walls of the tent-like structures required a very focused and complicated construction process, as the type of technology used to build these tents was very limited. The redesign of this area has become correspondingly complex.
The Heart Barracks of the Diplomatic Club are set up inside by Frei OttoInnerCastle garden and is used for receptions and banquets. They consist of wire mesh, are insulated and tiled and are intended to blend in with both the garden and the surrounding palace façade. However, the tents are also outward-facing and feature a sheer fabric that contrasts with the desert.
9. Jeddah Sportpavillon
The project consists of a sports center, a multipurpose area of 7,500 square meters that can be used as a single large playground and three independent handball courts. Seats on the east and west sides of the stadium for 5,000 spectators are provided in concrete stands, which will house training rooms, locker rooms and equipment storage. A cafeteria and lobby are included in the program. The static system consists of eight tubular steel masts.
10. Intercontinental Hotel and Conference Center
This 2,000-seat conference center and 170-room hotel is a synthesis of advanced building techniques and the revitalization of local artistic traditions that were all but extinct. In their directness and simplicity, local details and finishes such as suspended wooden beams emphasize the machined elegance of the aluminum clad conference center. The latter is structurally quite sophisticated, consisting of tent-like roofs suspended from steel poles. A small mosque, also shaded by a hanging trellis, is made of local basalt stone. The jury praised this project by Frei Otto as an "attempt to combine modern technology and functional forms in the context of Islamic culture".
11. Mountain tents for Hajj pilgrims
Authentic mountain tents are set up on rocky slopes with an incline of up to 35 degrees. The single tent has a 4m x 4m horizontal artificial plywood floor and stands on a tubular aluminum frame supported on extendable legs. The aluminum structure forms a grid of two squares on each of the four walls. Canvas roofs form four-sided pyramids and serve as interior roofs. The walls of the tent contain a door and window that can be kept open for ventilation and viewing.
12. Arctic City
Frei Otto's proposal to accommodate 40,000 people under a 2 km dome in the Arctic Circle reflected the spirit of the 1970s: concern for an ecological future combined with the promise of a better future. The Arctic City would be on a river estuary, with a seaport and airport nearby. The city would be built along with a nuclear power plant that would power and heat the city's air and water in port to keep it permanently ice-free.
13. Wilkhahn furniture factory
In 1987 a complex of four production halls with a light canvas roof construction and suspended wooden beams was completed to house the sewing and upholstery workshops. From the outside, the buildings appear more tiled than anything else, but their broad, curving, tent-like forms blend comfortably with the landscape, and interiors are warm and bright; to wrap the workers in a comforting wooden coat, but not to belittle it. The fact that the pavilions are arranged in a strict row rather than stacked in circles as expected is probably for functional reasons, but adds a nice sense of modularity that reflects the nature of their purpose.
14. Tree house
The aim of the project was to create affordable living space that ideally combines construction and nature. Otto achieved this by planning a reinforced concretethe infrastructurefor the three buildings, while various architects and the owners themselves created their own designs for the eighteen individual units. This individual input gave the homes a “tiled” quality within the supporting structure, allowing for a unified yet diverse community. The houses were integrated into the existing trees and other plants on the site.
15.Main exhibition hall of the Interbau
The large pavilion for the "City of Tomorrow" exhibition with an area of 52 x 100 m was completely open and without an outer wall. As a simple solution, a translucent roof was built from wooden planks, steel pipes and styrofoam-coated cotton cloth, this is a watertight roof area of 4,000 m2 with 79 kinks, crossed by long transverse valleys, over which the rain could flow. The roof skin served mainly as a cover, less as a self-supporting structure.