Jörg Schlaich



If we had to choose one word to sum up the work of the German architect Jörg Schlaich, who died on 4 September at 86, that would be ‘lightness.’ Lightness as the result of optimizing resources and structural design; and lightness as an aesthetic criterion that, beyond the reduction of costs, involves the crescent sublimation of form. Educated as an engineer at Stuttgart University, as well as at Cleveland, Schlaich completed his training at the office of Fritz Leonhardt, where he carried out one of the most famous works of the 1960s: the ethereal roofs of the Olympic Stadium in Munich. He combined professional practice with teaching at his alma mater, and in 1980 he set up his own office, Schlaich Bergermann Partner, where he designed innovative structures like the roof of the Mercedes-Benz Arena. From an office that had already become a referent outside Germany, Schlaich completed sports buildings around the world while continuing research on folding structures, tree-like supports, slabs suspended from cables or on new ways of working with reinforced concrete, on an impulse that is summed up well in the motto of the Enlightenment: Sapere Aude! (Dare to Know!)

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