frei otto posthumously receives the 2015 pritzker architecture prize frei otto posthumously receives the 2015 pritzker architecture prize
mar 11, 2015

frei otto posthumously receives the 2015 pritzker architecture prize


frei otto posthumously receives the 2015 pritzker architecture prize
(above) portrait © ingenhoven und partner architekten, düsseldorf

 

 

 

german architect and engineer frei otto has posthumously received the 2015 pritzker architecture prize, after he passed away last week at the age of 89. mr. otto becomes the 40th laureate of the prize, and the second laureate from germany after his compatriot gottfried böhm.

 

the jury selected frei otto as the laureate earlier this year, before his sad passing, and traveled to his home and studio near stuttgart to deliver the news in person. learning that he had received the award, mr. otto said: ‘I am now so happy to receive this pritzker prize and I thank the jury and the pritzker family very much. I have never done anything to gain this prize. my architectural drive was to design new types of buildings to help poor people, especially following natural disasters and catastrophes. so what shall be better for me than to win this prize? I will use whatever time is left to me to keep doing what I have been doing, which is to help humanity. you have here a happy man.’

frei otto pritzker prize laureate 2015 designboom
otto designed the roofing for main sports facilities at munich’s olympic park
image © atelier frei otto warmbronn

 

 

 

chairman and president of the hyatt foundation tom pritzker said in a statement: ‘our jury was clear that, in their view, frei otto’s career is a model for generations of architects and his influence will continue to be felt. the news of his passing is very sad, unprecedented in the history of the prize. we are grateful that the jury awarded him the prize while he was alive. at this year’s pritzker prize award ceremony in miami on may 15 we will celebrate his life and timeless work.’

frei otto pritzker prize laureate 2015 designboom
otto pioneered the use of modern lightweight tent-like structures for many different uses
image © atelier frei otto warmbronn

 

 

 

frei otto practiced a holistic and collaborative approach to architecture, working with environmentalists, biologists, engineers, philosophers, historians, naturalists, artists, and other architects. a distinguished teacher and author, otto pioneered the use of modern lightweight tent-like structures for many uses, which appealed to him due to their economical and ecological values. he believed in making efficient, responsible use of materials, and understood that architecture should have a minimal impact on the environment.

frei otto pritzker prize laureate 2015 designboom
aviary in the munich zoo at hellabrunn, 1979-1980
image © atelier frei otto warmbronn

 

 

 

otto is perhaps best known for the roofing of the main sports facilities at munich’s 1972 olympic park, and for the german pavilion at montreal’s expo 67. the german architect also worked alongside 2014 pritzker laureate shigeru ban on the japan pavilion at expo 2000, while he has also been recognized for the work he has completed in the middle east.

frei otto pritzker prize laureate 2015 designboom
roof for the multi-purpose hall in mannheim, germany
image © atelier frei otto warmbronn

 

 

 

the chair of the jury of the pritzker architecture prize, lord peter palumbo, commented: ‘time waits for no man. if anyone doubts this aphorism, the death of frei otto, a titan of modern architecture, a few weeks short of his 90th birthday, and a few short weeks before his receipt of the pritzker architecture prize in miami in may, represents a sad and striking example of this truism. his loss will be felt wherever the art of architecture is practiced the world over, for he was a universal citizen; whilst his influence will continue to gather momentum by those who are aware of it, and equally, by those who are not.’

 

the 2015 award ceremony will be held in miami beach at the new world center, designed by 1989 pritzker prize laureate frank gehry, on may 15, 2015.

frei otto pritzker prize laureate 2015 designboom
the japan pavilion at expo 2000 in hannover
image © hiroyuki hirai / courtesy of atelier frei otto warmbronn

frei otto pritzker prize laureate 2015 designboom
diplomatic club heart tent, 1980, riyadh, saudi arabia
image © atelier frei otto warmbronn

frei otto pritzker prize laureate 2015 designboom
the 1967 international and universal exposition in montreal, canada
image © atelier frei otto warmbronn

frei otto pritzker prize laureate 2015 designboom
large umbrellas at the federal garden exhibition, 1971, cologne, germany
image © atelier frei otto warmbronn

  • Still the nicest stadium in all of germany, despite its age. A bit outdated technology-wise, but the atmosphere is the best! So transparent, so lightweight, so rigid while appearing to be so thin.

    -- says:
  • I was not aware of such a person so I didn’t know him but because of the world cup stadiums I think I should thank him again because they were massive structures which I am certain made people upset. So maybe someday I get to know where he worke,d what he did to change the profession & architect stuff to do before/after someone’s career comes to an end.

    E.O says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news