RIBA Gold Medal 2005
A passion for flying and an interest in construction shaped the personality of the German engineer and architect Frei Otto, recipient of the gold medal that the Royal Institute of British Architects grants yearly. The result of this experimental vocation is the pioneering nature of his works. The German Pavilion at the Montreal Expo in 1967 and the roof of the stadium of the Munich Olympics in 1972 were references for a subsequent generation of tensile constructions. Born in Siegmar in 1925, Otto was a pilot in World War II. After finishing his studies in Berlin and Virginia, he devoted himself to exploring the optimal relation between technology and form, finding one of his greatest sources of inspiration in natural processes. A founder, in 1964, of the Institute of Light Structures in Stuttgart, and a professor at various prestigious universities, Frei Otto is, like Buckminster Fuller, a modern apostle of organic architecture. The spirit of his work inspires the work of contemporary architects like Shigeru Ban, who he collaborated with in the design of the Japanese Pavilion at the Hannover Expo in 2000..