German architect to be honoured posthumously

Frei Otto, who designed the roof of the Olympic Stadium in Munich, is to be awarded The Pritzker Prize.

The German architect was told in January that he had won the award, but he passed away on the 9th March, 2015, aged 89. This is reportedly the first time that a winner of the prize has died before the fact they had won had been announced.

When he heard of the architect’s death, Pritzker’s chairman, Peter Palumbo, said:

“Time waits for no man.”

He added that the death of Mr Otto was “a sad and striking example of this truism”.

Otto is best known for his pioneering work with canopies, along with other lightweight materials and structures. In 1977, he designed a group of giant umbrellas for the Pink Floyd ‘In the Flesh’ tour. He also worked on the German pavilion for the 1967 Montreal Expo and designed the aviary for Munich Zoo. Over the decades, his designs have inspired designers and engineers throughout the world, including architects in North Wales and other parts of the UK.

However, Otto’s work has been formally recognised several times before. His first award was the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture, which he won in 1974.

In 2005, the Royal Institute of British Architects awarded him the Royal Gold Medal for architecture. Then in 2006, he won the Praemium Imperiale prize for architecture. The Pritzker award ceremony will take place as planned in Miami, with past winners being expected to speak about Otto’s work and life.

Posted by Mark
April 2, 2015

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