Heritage Forum

Frei Otto awarded the Pritzker Prize posthumously

Oct 7, 2015 | Forum, News

The prestigious Pritzker prize, the Nobel Prize of architecture, was awarded posthumously for the first time in its 36-year history. Although Frei Otto, the German achitect famous for his light, transparent structures, knew that the jury awarded him the prize for 2015, he died before the public announcement of this award.

Frei Otto

Frei Otto

Otto, who was detained as a prisoner of war in a camp in France for two years after WW2, there learnt to build with limited and restricted material. His light designs, according to The New York Times, therefore represented a response to the heavy, massive structures of pre-war Germany.

Otto received his doctorate in engineering and liked collaborating on projects with other architects, including the 1972 Olympic Pavilion in Munich.

He and Shigeru Ban, last year’s winner of the Pritzker Prize, worked together on the Japanese pavilion for the Hanover Expo in 2000.

Frei Otto turned 90 during the current year.


1972 Olympic Pavilion in Munich

1972 Olympic Pavilion in Munich


Umbrellas for Pink Floyd’s 1977 concert tour of the United States, 1977 Photo © Frei Otto

Umbrellas for Pink Floyd’s 1977 concert tour of the United States, 1977. Photo © Frei Otto



Japan Pavilion, Expo 2000, Hannover 2000, Hannover, Germany Photo by Hiroyuki Hirai.

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