By Juan Maria Songel
One of many 20th century's most vital layout visionaries, German architect and structural engineer Frei Otto(b. 1925) made his mark with a chain of super-light tensile structures—such because the West German Pavilion for Montreal's Expo sixty seven and the Olympic Stadium in Munich (1972)—that are celebrated for his or her technical ingenuity and fabric potency. but regardless of Otto's achievements, fairly little has been released on his paintings. A dialog with Frei Otto incorporates a complete interview with Otto in addition to his severe textual content Fundamentals of a destiny Architecture in its entirety. In his dialog with Juan María Songel, Otto talks freely approximately every thing from his early connections to the Bauhaus to his innovations at the present country of engineering and structure. the newest in our Conversations sequence, this e-book additionally contains photographs of Otto's most crucial and recognized works.
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Additional resources for A Conversation with Frei Otto
On occasion you have shared your experience in your father’s workshop, when he soaked a cloth in plaster and hung it, so that once dried it could be inverted. Yes, it was simply part of a sculptor’s work. It was there when I tried to build these inverted forms for the first time, and even today I continue to play with this: a marvelous toy. Your efforts to systematize also connect to the rationalizing approaches of German architecture from the 1920s: Walter Gropius produced a large number of spatial combinations starting from modular elements of large dimensions; Alexander Klein explored types of housing starting from the possible variations of plans; A Conversation with Frei Otto and Hermann Muthesius saw an expression of the essential and even the immaterial in types.
You have referred to some current issues regarding your work with engineers. How do you see the role of the architect and the engineer today? As far as I can see, what I find odd today is that not being a physicist or a natural scientist, I really have to consult on natural sciences, on questions that have no longer anything to do with current architecture, but that in fact have always had something to do with historical architecture, from the middle ages up to modern times. At the moment architects voluntarily don’t want to A Conversation with Frei Otto have anything to do with natural sciences, but I think they make a serious mistake because construction is applied natural science.
If, for example, you do experiments with liquids, the infinite possibilities are restricted to only those forms that can be built with the surface stresses of the liquids, that is, those that tend to form minimum surfaces. If this process is done with the computer and this criterion is eliminated, then you obtain surfaces with different stresses, surfaces with bending moments, shear stress, etc; you can do an infinite amount of things. As an architect, or as an artist, I can demonstrate that any sculpture can be built.
A Conversation with Frei Otto by Juan Maria Songel