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Jörg Schlaich, 1934-2021

Eternal Lightness

Jorge Bernabeu 

Lightness characterizes the work of the German engineer Jörg Schlaich, who passed away on Saturday, 4 September, at 86 years of age. Aiming for weightlessness makes it possible to reduce materials and dimensions, but it also to make the most of resources and work toward sustainability; strategies which made Schlaich the most important engineer of his generation. His roofs, towers, bridges, and catwalks present creative, innovative solutions in a balance of foldable structures, tree-like pillars, and curving boards hanging from cables or held in place by arches.

Schlaich developed unprecedented formal proposals, involving knots and details like critical design elements and using natural light to dissolve the structures around. His legacy will live on both at the University of Stuttgart, where he succeeded Fritz Leonhardt, and at Schlaich Bergermann Partner, a leading practice bound to continue carrying out his ideas of levity, uplifting in the world of engineering.

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