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Frei Otto Awarded Pritzker Architecture Prize

12.03.15

From working as camp architect while prisoner at war in France to posthomously being awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Frei Otto has had an amazing career spanning over 60 years.

The German architect who designed the tented roof of Munich’s Olympic Stadium, was named the winner of the 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize on Tuesday. On Monday Otto died at the age of 89, just weeks shy of his 90th birthday.

Otto was drafted into the German army during World War II. While a prisoner of war in France he worked as a camp architect. This time influenced his ongoing use of lightweight and efficient materials. After the war he returned to Germany and studied architecture and in 1952, he founded his own office in Berlin.

The Pritzker organisers described Otto as a, “distinguished teacher and author,” who, “believed in making efficient, responsible use of materials and that architecture should make a minimal impact on the environment.” Otto was, “a Utopian who never stopped believing that architecture can make a better world for all.”

Otto was informed he had won architecture’s highest accolade before he passed. He modestly commented that he had, “never done anything to gain this prize…I will use whatever time is left to me to keep doing what I have been doing, which is to help humanity. You have here a happy man.”