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Pritzker Prize 2015 goes to Frei Otto

Published at: 23 June 2015

At an unusually solemn Pritzker award evening in Miami Beach Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, the 2014 Pritzker laureate, unveiled a temporary installation designed by Ban that celebrated the life and times of late German architect and structural engineer Frei Otto who was awarded this years prestigious Pritzker prize.


Architect Shigero Ban


A young Frei Otto

Otto was most noted for his use of lightweight structures, in particular tensile and membrane structures.

Ban’s structure reconstructed a four-point tensile tent first designed by Otto as a music pavilion for the 1955 federal garden exhibition. Lord Peter Palumbo, chair of the pritzker prize jury, spoke of Otto and his work to represent “an architecture that celebrated the human spirit and the human condition. An architecture that exuded spiritual generosity. This free spirit was able to imbue and inform his architecture with the literature of life in the way that people feel sublimating the self in the interest and for the good of humanity and most especially for the poor and defenseless.”

Otto was notified that he was the recipient of the 2015 award in January, but died on March 9, just before his 90th birthday. The official ceremony, scheduled for May 15 in Miami, became a celebration of his life— a black-tie occasion attended by Pritzker laureates, Miami dignitaries, leading architects, academics, and others and was held at the New World Center - the symphony hall designed by absentee laureate Frank Gehry.

View more images of the prize giving here.

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