‘My architecture is the architecture of survival’ – Frei Otto

Frei Otto was a German architect and engineer, known for his contribution in innovating lightweight and tensile structures. His principles and style of work were way ahead of his time which still continues to be an inspiration for the young generations as his methods include a minimum amount of material and energy to create space based on the concepts of sustainability. Frei Otto won The Pritzker Award shortly before his death in 2015 and the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 2006.

Here are 10 things you did not known about Frei Otto:

1. A Sculptor-Artist

Frei Otto was born in Siegmar, Germany, on May 31, 1925, and spent his childhood in Berlin. “Frei” in German signifies “free”; his mom thought of the name after going to talk on freedom. Otto’s dad and granddad were the two sculptor artists, and as a youthful student, he filled in as a disciple in stonemasonry during school occasions. For a diversion, he flew and designed lightweight glider planes — this piqued his curiosity in how thin layers extended over light edges could react to aerodynamic and structural forces.

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2. Architecture and Prisoner of War

At the point when he had his college entrance certificate in 1943, Otto joined without a moment’s delay to contemplate design, yet he was not permitted. Instead, he was drafted into the labour force. In September 1943, Otto was called for military help, and was prepared as a pilot. The pilot training was halted toward the finish of 1944 and Otto turned into a trooper. In April 1945, he was caught close to Nürnberg and turned into wartime captive. He remained for a long time in a captive camp close to Chartres in France. There he functioned as a camp architect, and he figured out how to construct numerous sorts of structures with as meagre material as could be expected under the circumstances.

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3. The Institute for Development of Lightweight Construction, Berlin

In 1958, Otto established the first of a few organizations he would build-up that was committed to lightweight structures — the Institute for Development of Lightweight Construction, a little private foundation — and opened another studio in the Zehlendorf area of Berlin.

The foundation of the Biology and Building research bunch at the Technical University of Berlin in 1961 denoted the start of his agreeable work between architects, engineers, and biologists. They applied their insight into tents, framework shells, and other lightweight structures to all the more likely comprehend the plans of natural systems and networks.

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4. A large scale, passive solar building

The Institute for Lightweight Structures was appointed by the German government to lead research regarding the planning of the German structure for the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal, Canada, also called Expo 67. The pioneers of Germany picked Otto’s design to show the country’s post-World War II modern and building aptitude and inventive innovations. The subsequent German structure at Expo 67, made as a team with Rolf Gutbrod and Fritz Leonhardt, gave Frei Otto his worldwide achievement as an architect and a structural engineer. It’s an early case of enormous scope, passive solar-powered structure.

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5. The roof of Munich Olympic Park

In 1968, Otto was named an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and Institute for Lightweight Structures was commissioned by Olympia Baugesellschaft in Munich to create development estimation models for the extended top of the main games arena in the Munich Olympic Park. The venture, acknowledged in May 1972, by Günter Behnisch, Frei Otto, and Fritz Leonhardt, for that year’s Olympics, involved a vast layer in covering the stands of the Olympic arena, a malleable structure field, a texture rooftop over the Olympic pool, and hyperbolic film shelters to interface the structures and shield guests from downpour and sun.

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6. Atelier (Frei Otto) Warmbronn

In 1969, Otto built up the Atelier (Frei Otto) Warmbronn, a studio close to Stuttgart. There Otto and his team investigated development techniques that could be exceptionally successful with next to meagre material. It happened that the types of Otto’s structures frequently discovered comparative answers for those in nature and subsequently took after regular structures, for example, bird skulls and spider web networks. Otto wrote all through his vocation. His book Biology and Building was published in 1972 with a second volume the following year. Later exploration drove Otto to expound on the basic and building properties of bamboo, and soap bubbles.

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7. Close friendship with

He felt a unique connection with his thirty-years-old established American partner R. Buckminster Fuller, father of the geodesic arch, the other incredible auxiliary advancement that rose in the mid century. The presumptuous sensationalist Fuller and oneself destroying moralist Otto could not have been more different personally, but their signature designs shared similar limitations. Both Fuller’s arch and Otto’s tent were basically roofing material frameworks, and for all the economy with which they could cover an inside, partitioning those volumes for explicit useful reasons for existing was a lot trickier.

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8. Monographic exhibition at MoMA, New York.

Frei Otto was perceived with his first major monographic display in 1971 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. (An upgrade of the presentation later went in 1975 and 1977 to scenes in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia). The presentation “Natural Constructions,” which included his work, was sorted out by the Institute for International Relations in Stuttgart in 1982 and appeared in Goethe Institutes in around 80 nations.

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9. Japanese Pavilion for Expo 2000

Frei Otto is remembered most as of late for working close to Pritzker prize laureate Shigeru Ban on the Japanese Pavilion at Expo 2000 and quite often teamed up with different experts in multidisciplinary teams. Perhaps above all, he has added to an abundance of basic and specialized information that will keep on moving people in the future of architecture.

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10. Posthumously Named 2015 Pritzker Laureate

“I’ve never done anything to gain this prize. Prize-winning is not the goal of my life. I try to help poor people, but what shall I say here — I’m very happy.”

These were the remarks put forward by him when he got to know he had won the Pritzker Prize. It was to be announced publicly on 23rd March 2015. However, due to his sudden death on 9th March, it was announced the next day.

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Sana Paul
Author

Sana, an architecture undergrad at Jamia Millia, is a staunch believer that the world owes it's beauty to architects. The ever-expanding concrete jungle is aesthetics, from the thoughts of an architect behind it. Foodie by nature Sana loves traveling, music; and an empty canvas is all that makes up an ideal day for her. She can binge-watch documentaries in sweatpants nights down. She aspires to live a life less ordinary.

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