‘frei otto. thinking in models’ is an exhibition on view in karlsruhe, germany until march 12, 2017. the presentation, which forms the biggest display of the architect’s work to date, includes over 200 models and 1,000 photos, as well as drawings, sketches, plans, films and a large-scale media projection. otto is considered one of the best known and most innovative designers of the 20th century. in 2015, shortly after his passing, he was posthumously awarded the pritzker prize.

frei otto thinking in models
the presentation forms the biggest display of otto’s work to date
image by felix grünschloß © ZKM|karlsruhe (also main image)

 

 

the collaborative exhibition was conceived by the archive of south west germany for architecture and engineering (saai) of the KIT and the wüstenrot foundation in cooperation with ZKM | karlsruhe. the design of the presentation was created by FAR, an architecture firm led by marc frohn and mario rojas. the displayed work includes projects that are both widely known and less familiar.

frei otto thinking in models
the exhibition includes over 200 models and 1,000 photographs
image by felix grünschloß © ZKM|karlsruhe

 

 

the exhibition comprises four installations which fill each atrium, guiding visitors through the wide range of archive material. the centerpiece is ‘frei otto’s model landscape’, a 50 meter-long table where models are organized to scale and placed in their historic context. individual models are supplemented with original plans and detailed picture material, forming a ‘horizontal cabinet of curiosities’.

frei otto thinking in models
the design of the display was created by FAR, an architecture firm led by marc frohn and mario rojas
image © christoph engel

 

 

the second element is an ‘open archive’ that comprises 18 over-sized shelves constructed in a circular form around both courtyards. through carefully curated original plans, photos, books and reproductions, guests are guided through otto’s work — from the development institute for lightweight building in berlin, the world-famous institute for lightweight structures in stuttgart, and his studio in warmbronn, to the german pavilion for expo 67, the multihalle in mannheim, and his initial research into stuttgart 21.

frei otto thinking in models
the displayed work includes projects that are both widely known and less familiar
image © christoph engel

 

 

next, ‘frei otto’s cosmos’ is a series of 18 tables — inspired by the desks in the architect’s warmbronn studio — that display large-format photos from of natural world, personally collected and archived by otto. the material includes studies of nature, with images that document the construction of spiders’ webs, sand structures, and soap bubbles. these photographs clearly served as a definite source of inspiration and research. the final installation is ‘frei otto’s projection’, which is, as its name suggests, a wall projection measuring more than 25 meters in size.

 

‘frei otto. thinking in models’ remains on display until march 12, 2017.

frei otto thinking in models
the exhibition comprises four installations that fill each atrium
image © christoph engel

frei otto thinking in models
the centerpiece is a 50 meter-long table where models are organized to scale
image © bernd seeland

frei otto thinking in models
individual models are supplemented with original plans
image © bernd seeland

frei otto thinking in models
detailed picture material helps forms a ‘horizontal cabinet of curiosities’
image © james morrison

frei otto thinking in models
the second element is an ‘open archive’ that comprises 18 over-sized shelves
image © james morrison

frei otto thinking in models
‘frei otto’s cosmos’ is a series of 18 tables that display large-format photos of the natural world
image © james morrison

frei otto thinking in models
the images were personally collected and archived by otto
image © bernd seeland

frei otto thinking in models
a wall projection measures more than 25 meters in size
image © james morrison

frei otto thinking in models
‘frei otto. thinking in models’ remains on display until march 12, 2017
image © james morrison

 

 

project info:

 

exhibition architecture —

 

exhibition design: FAR frohn&rojas berlin, santigo de chile and los angeles
team: marc frohn, mario rojas toledo, max koch, daniel stanojevic, leonie weyrauch, maximilian kessler                
location: ZKM, karlsruhe, germany
status: completed
year: 2015-2016

 

exhibition general —

 

curator: georg vrachliotis
co-curators: marc frohn, martin kunz, joachim kleinmanns
project assistant: julia schiffer
visual design: studio lukas feireiss with floyd e. schulz
media partner: ARCH+

 

rededication of the GLOBAL modular walls by stadelmann
schmutz wössner architekten (SSW) as tables by FAR frohn&rojas

 

a shared project of the archive of south west germany for architecture and engineering (saai) of the KIT and the wüstenrot foundation in cooperation with ZKM karlsruhe

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