Author(s): Georg Vrachliotis
Experimental architect and engineer Frei Ottos (19252015) innovative tent structures were modeled first and foremost on nature. Illustrated with over 250 black-and-white images and drawings from his archive, this oversized first monograph on his work accompanying the extensive exhibition at ZKM (2016) features for the first time a large number of his experimental models and drawings. In the 1950s, Frei Ottos tent structures left their mark on the horticultural shows of the new Bonn Republic; together with Behnisch & Partner he created the roof landscape for the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. Ottos interdisciplinary mode of thinking harnessed architecture, technology, art, science, society and nature to civil engineering. Known for his lightweight tensile and membrane-based structures incorporating massive tent constructions like those by Russian engineer Vladimir Shukhov and architect Antonio Gaud., Otto perfected the construction of tents for both temporary and alternative housing. His interest in alternative materials for shelter originated with his internment as a POW after the war.