The famous German Engineer - Architect Frei Otto has been awarded the 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize one day after his death.

Frei Otto was regarded as the most influential person to drive the modern move to adopt large span lightweight structures using fabrics, timber gridshells and cablenets.

He was very passionate about sharing his knowledge and ideas through the establishment of the Institute of Lightweight Structures at Stuggart University and hence its broad range of publications as well as a large number of students that spent time there.

 

The Institut building itself was a bold design using a doubly curved tensioned cablenet structure. It was a "prototype" for the stunning 1967 German Expo in Montreal which in turn was a precurser for the magnificent structures built for the 1972 Munich Olympics.

He instilled a deep understanding of structural form through the use of carefully constructed physical models. His "soap films" models defined the shapes used by fabric structures for decades and the early computer models incorporated a soap film analogy for basic form-finding. He used hanging chain models to determine the form of his timber shells.

Closer to our roots, the MSAA / LSAA founder, Vinzenz Sedlak was a great friend of Frei Otto and worked for a period at the IL. Frei Otto visited Australia in the early 1980s and met many pioneers of our industry.

LSAA Founder Vinzenz Sedlak (L) with Frei Otto at the LSRU in 1980

The MSAA / LSAA Founder Vinzenz Sedlak (L) with Frei Otto in 1980 at the LSRU at the University of NSW. The MSAA was to be formed the following year.

More detail can be found at: http://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/news

The following selection of images depict his cablenet structures at the 1967 World Expo in Montreal, one image of the Institut in Stuttggart and several of the various stadia at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

28,15,0,50,1
600,600,60,1,5000,1000,25,2000
90,300,1,50,12,25,50,1,70,12,1,50,1,1,1,5000
Munich Olympic Stadiums
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Physical model of the cablenet structure
German Pavilion Expo 1967
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Frei Otto developed the free form cablenet roof structure for the striking German Pavilion at the 1967 Montreal World Expo. There was a tensioned fabric skin suspended below the cable net.
German Pavilion Expo 1967
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Details of the acrylic sheets showing multiple rubber supports to the cablenet under. Large amounts of expansion and contraction in the sheets lead to a system of flexible rubber gutters between the sheets.
Munich Olympic Stadiums
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Munich Stadium Entrance Area
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Munich Stadium Entrance Area
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Munich Stadium Entrance Area
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Munich Swiming Complex
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Munich Olympic Stadiums
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Munich Olympic Stadiums
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Munich Stadium Entrance Area
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Munich Olympic Stadiums
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Munich Olympic Stadiums
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Munich Olympic Stadiums
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Frei Otto developed the free form cablenet roof structure for the striking German Pavilion at the 1967 Montreal World Expo. There was a tensioned fabric skin suspended below the cable net.
Expo 1967 Details
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Frei Otto developed the free form cablenet roof structure for the striking German Pavilion at the 1967 Montreal World Expo. There was a tensioned fabric skin suspended below the cable net.
German Pavilion Expo 1967
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Prior to the German Pavilion at Expo 1967, Otto developed a smaller cablenet structure featuring a high peaked central mast. It housed his Institute for Lightweight Structures
Frei Otto IL Building Stuttgart
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Frei further developed the free formed stressed cablenets for the stadia at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The cladding used large flat rectangular sheets of acrylic supported by flexible rubber pads above the cablenet.
Munich Olympic Stadiums
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The now familiar saddle shaped anticlastic stressed surfaces which resist both uplift and downward loads. Nowadays seen more with tensioned fabric structures
Munich Olympic Stadiums
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Munich Olympic Stadiums
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Mast details
Munich Olympic Stadiums
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Main stadium edge cable
Munich Olympic Stadiums
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Munich Olympic Stadiums
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