Karissa Rosenfield

12 Things You Didn’t Know About Pritzker Laureate Frei Otto

Hall at the International Garden , 1963, Hamburg, Germany © Atelier Warmbronn

Frei Otto passed away this past Monday, a day before being internationally celebrated as the Pritzker Prize’s 40th laureate. The first architect to ever receive the Prize posthumously, Otto was a brilliant inventor, architect and engineer who pioneered some of history’s most ambitious tensile structures.

In honor of his legacy, we’ve complied 12 fascinating facts about Otto’s life that influenced his career and shaped the profession. Read them all, after the break.

Frei Otto Posthumously Named 2015 Pritzker Laureate

© Ingenhoven und Partner Architekten, Düsseldorf

Frei Otto has just been named the 40th recipient of the Pritzker Prize - two weeks prior to the expected official announcement. The abrupt news has been released early due the unfortunate passing of the German architect and structural engineer, who was best known for the 1972 Munich Olympic Stadium. The pioneering tensile structure, which stood in considerable contrast to the strict, authoritarian stadium that was its predecessor, was meant to present a different, more compassionate face for Germany.

“Throughout his life, Frei Otto has produced imaginative, fresh, unprecedented spaces and constructions. He has also created knowledge. Herein resides his deep influence: not in forms to be copied, but through the paths that have been opened by his research and discoveries,” says the Jury.

“His contributions to the field of architecture are not only skilled and talented, but also generous. For his visionary ideas, inquiring mind, belief in freely sharing knowledge and inventions, his collaborative spirit and concern for the careful use of resources, the 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded to Frei Otto.”

Though he sadly passed away before the award ceremony, Otto was informed of his win by the Pritzker Prize’s Executive Director Martha Thorne, who traveled to his home in Warmbronn to inform him of his prize. Speaking shortly after her visit, he 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… You have here a happy man.”

Read the Jury’s full citation after the break…

Mei and Felixx Propose Housing for Postwar Residential Area in Munich

© Team Mei and Felixx

The largest housing association in Munich, GEWOFAG has awarded Mei Architects & Planners and Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners one of three prizes for their proposal to redevelop of a residential area of 340 dwellings around the Ludlstrasse in Munich.

“It is refreshing to see how the Dutch have dealt with this design task,” says the jury in regards to the team’s community-centric, winning scheme. “The Dutch are one step further in thinking about how neighborhoods should function.”

More about their winning entry ”Neue Nachbarschaften,” after the break.

ADEPT Wins Competition to Design “Small Piece” of Flensburg

The green interior courtyard. Image ©

ADEPT has won a competition to design a new city gate in the German city of Flensburg along Bahnhofstrasse – a central urban axis leading to the city’s main station. Designed as a “small piece of the city,” the winning proposal adapts itself to the existing typology by combining different types of “facade expressions” that creates a “playful synergy between new and old.”

“The proposal gives us a unique chance to transform and influence our future city at a very high level of quality and creativity – Bahnhofstrasse can really become a real and vibrant piece of city,” says the client.

Frank Gehry to Redesign the “Gateway to Sunset Strip”

AD Classics: Walt Disney Concert Hall / Frank Gehry. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP

An overlooked strip mall at the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards will soon be replaced by a mixed-use, walkable community designed by Frank Gehry. Known to be the “gateway to the ,” the West site will be comprised of 249 apartments, restaurants, retail storefronts and a central plaza – all within “an environmentally sensitive building that complements and contributes to the historic architecture in the neighborhood.”

“Frank Gehry’s deep understanding of the property, its history and the context will elevate the project to the iconic and timeless status that it deserves,” said Townscape partner and project developer Tyler Siegel.

Ennead Tapped to Design Shanghai Planetarium

© Thomas Wong /

Ennead Architects has won an international competition to design the Planetarium. The “celestial” design hopes to elevate the Science and Technology Museum’s (SSTM) “scientific and technological capacity” while redefine the district Lingang upon its completion in 2018. 

“Drawing inspiration form astronomical principles, our design strategy provides a platform for the experience of orbital motion, and utilizes that as a metaphorical reference and generator of form,” says Ennead Architects.

Foster Chosen to Design Qatar 2022 Centerpiece Stadium

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Foster + Partners has been chosen ahead of David Chipperfield Architects, Mossessian & Partners and Mangera Yvars Architects to design the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar centerpiece – the Lusail Stadium. The British practice will now move forward with its competition-winning scheme (first proposed in 2010) with the help of stadium experts ARUP and Populous.

“It is an honor to design this centerpiece stadium – we are delighted to have won the international competition. This is an exciting step forward in stadium design – it will be the first to break the mould of the free standing suburban concept, and instead anticipates the grid of this future city, of which it will be an integral part,” said Norman Foster, founder of Foster + Partners.

This Plastic Bottle House Turns Trash into Affordable Housing in Nigeria

YouTube Preview Image

In the United States alone, more than 125 million plastic bottles are discarded each day, 80 percent of which end up in a landfill. This waste could potentially be diverted and used to construct nearly 10,000, 1200-square-foot homes (taking in consideration it takes an average of 14,000 plastic bottles to build a home that size). Many believe this process could be a viable option for affordable housing and even help solve .

The idea isn’t new. In Nigeria, the plastic bottle house has proven to be a success, turning trash into an affordable (and beautiful) housing material. By packing plastic bottles with soil or sand, and then stacking and bounding them with mud and string, one can build an earthquake-proof home that is 18 times stronger than regular bricks. Watch the video about to learn more.

Marc Fornes / THEVERYMANY Installations Transform INRIA

© – Sous Tension

Marc Fornes / THEVERYMANY has realized two permanent installations – “Under Stress” and “Sous Tension” – in the public areas of the Department of Computer Science at the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA). Both structures “utilize programming techniques inherent in computer science to optimize the form and creating a pattern on the surface.”

“The structures engage the spaces with their intricate and gestural movements that effortlessly travel over the areas,” says the practice. “They provide visitors with iconic hubs for informal and spontaneous social gatherings while expressing the tension between the dynamic interactions from the multi-directional and converging paths within the public spaces. More than a signal for the school, they become elements of enhancement for the school’s identity.”

Preservationists Lose Battle to Save Orange County Government Center

© Matthew Carbone for Architect Magazine

Yesterday Orange County legislators decided to “take no action” against blocking the “destructive” rebuild of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center. The plan, deemed by architecture critic Michael Kimmelman to be “vandalism,” will remove one of the building’s three sections and replace it with a “big, soulless glass box.”

The 44-year-old brutalist landmark has been the center of a preservation debate for years; lawmakers argue that the building is “not easy to love” and expensive to maintain, while preservationists declare the building is an important piece of modern history and blame its state of disrepair on neglect. The council vetoed an offer last summer to allow a New York architect to purchase the property and transform it into artist studios. More on the decision, and more of Matthew Carbone’s images for Architect Magazine, after the break.

Dubai’s Museum of the Future to be Partially 3-D Printed

© Government

“See the future, create the future,” this is the motto of Dubai’s newly unveiled “Museum of the Future.” The metallic oblong-structure, planned for a corner lot in Dubai’s central financial district  next to the Emirates Towers on Sheikh Zayed Road, is said to become “an incubator for ideas and real designs, a driver for innovation and a global destination for inventors and entrepreneurs.”

“The world is entering a new era of accelerated knowledge and great technological revolutions,” tweeted  prime minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “We aim to lead in that era, not to follow and lag behind. The Museum of the Future is the first step of many to come, marking the beginning of great achievements.”

Holograms, robotics and 3-D printing will play a crucial role in the structure’s realization. Learn more and watch a video fly-through the building after the break.

Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980

Affonso Eduardo Reidy. Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro (MAM), Rio de Janeiro, , 1934-1947. ©Núcleo de Documentação e Pesquisa – Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

In 1955 the Museum of Modern Art staged Latin American Architecture since 1945, a landmark survey of modern architecture in . On the 60th anniversary of that important show, the Museum returns to the region to offer a complex overview of the positions, debates, and architectural creativity from Mexico and Cuba to the Southern Cone between 1955 and the early 1980s.

More about Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980, opening at MoMA on March 29th, after the break. 

Stereotank’s HeartBeat Transformed into Times Square HeartSeat

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Stereotank’s HeartBeat filled the air in Times Square this past Valentine’s Day. Now that the love season is over, the Brooklyn-based practice has turned their clever into a welcoming “HeartSeat” by simply opening up their heart-shaped sculpture to the public and transforming it into a bench. The will remain on view through Sunday, March 8th. See a video of HeartSeat, after the break.

KANVA Wins RAIC 2015 Emerging Architectural Practice Award

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A Montreal-based practice known for their experimental material use and building methods, KANVA has been selected to receive the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s (RAIC) 2015 Emerging Architectural Practice Award. The 10-person collective was lauded by the jury for “always looking to the future” and being “continually and consistently innovative.”

Coop Himmelb(l)au’s Musée des Confluences Through the Lens of Edmund Sumner

© Edmund Sumner

Edmund Sumner has shared with us images from his recent visit to Lyon, France, where he photographed Coop Himmelb(l)au’s newly completed Musée des Confluences. Perched on a century-old artificial peninsula at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, the “museum of knowledge,” as Coop Himmelb(l)au affectionately refers to it, is distinct for its “iconic gateway” – an openly traversable “Crystal” that provides multi-level access to the museum’s exhibition spaces and views of the building’s unique context. Step inside, after the break.

Open Call: The Negro Building Remembrance Competition

Negro Building via Bustler

The Negro Building Remembrance Competition invites architects, landscape architects, artists, playwrights, poets, musicians and writers from every discipline, as individuals, teams, students or professionals, to propose imaginative ways to commemorate the Negro Building, the forgotten landmark of the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia.

Fate of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center to be Decided Tomorrow

by Paul Rudolph © Times - Tony Cenicola

Tomorrow legislators are due to decided the fate of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center. The midcentury icon, listed on the World Monuments Fund’s global watch list, has been the center of a prolonged debate challenging its right to be preserved. 

“The plan is to gut Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center, strip away much of its distinctive, corrugated concrete and glass exterior and demolish one of its three pavilions, replacing it with a big, soulless glass box,” says architecture critic Michael Kimmelman. “[The legislators] can do the right thing Thursday. They can overturn the veto and reconsider demolition.” More on Kimmelman’s call to save the Rudolph landmark, here

London’s Architectural Association Exhibits Futuristic Work of Jan Kaplický

© Jan Kaplický

Now on view at ’s Architectural Association, Jan Kaplický Drawings presents work by the Czech architect Jan Kaplický (1937-2009) – a visionary designer with a passion for drawing as a means of discovering, describing and constructing. Through drawing he presented beguiling architectural imagery of the highest order.

The earliest projects date from the early 1970s when, for Kaplický, drawing was essentially a speculative pursuit. Whilst his days were spent working for other architects, during evenings and weekends he designed and drew at home. His architecture at this time was the plan and the finely detailed cross-section. Never satisfied, he constantly developed and honed his graphic language, perfecting the technique of the cutaway isometric which became his trademark.

A preview of Kaplický’s drawings, after the break.