Soap Bubble Simple Membrane Structure Structure For Cologne Garden Exhibition, 1957 Canvas Cover For Steel Frame Structure At Berlin Interbau, 1957

About this talk

Running time: 38 minutes

German born architect Frei Otto started practice in Berlin in 1952, but in 1968 moved to Warmbronn near Stuttgart. Since 1964 he has been Professor and Director of the Institute of Lightweight Structures at the University of Stuttgart, and he has been a visiting professor at universities all over the world.

Although he trained as an architect, his heart is in natural science. He seeks to understand how structures are made by nature, how much energy and materials etc. are required, and the process by which these come together. His research has led to the design of tented structures that are remarkable for their diversity and inclusiveness - membrane structures, mesh-steel cable-nets, tree structures, and asymmetrical self-supporting shells - built for any climate and in any shape or size.

He has revived the tent as a leading species of modern tensile architecture. But, as he explains in his talk, he does not only design 'tents'. The ideas developed for his own all-weather, indoor-outdoor, minimum-energy house have led to the ecological multi-storey housing he designed for the 1984 Berlin International Building Exhibition.

Man, he says, must stop destroying nature and start to see himself as part of it. His opportunity is a nature-oriented technology; natural structures.

Professor Otto adds a short statement in German at the end of the talk.

Please note that a transcript of this talk is available - please contact us for further details.

Frei Otto

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