The late Pritzker Prize laureate Frei Otto was ahead of the game in his holistic, sustainable approach to architecture during the 20th century. Whether you're a longtime fan or want to better familiarize yourself with his extensive oeuvre, “Frei Otto: Thinking by Modeling” at Karlsruhe's Center for Art and Media (ZKM) is an exhibition not to miss if you'll be in the area anytime soon.
Curated by Georg Vrachliotis along with Marc Frohn, Martin Kunz, and Joachim Kleinmanns, the exhibition presents the biggest display of Otto's work to date, including over 200 design models, objects, and tools as well as over 1,000 photos, drawings and sketches, plans, large-scale media projections, and more.
FAR frohn&rojas' immersive design for the exhibition presents Otto's works as an enticing “horizontal cabinet of curiosities” as a way to depict Otto's personal design process and modes of research. At the same time, the exhibition poses timely questions about the future of the built environment in relation to architecture, technology, sustainability, and society. The exhibition is open until March 12.
FAR frohn&rojas shared more details and photos of the exhibit with Bustler. Scroll down to have a look.
“The exhibition is made up of four central positions, which extend scenographically through the two atriums and guide visitors through the extensive archive material, which the Archive of South West Germany for Architecture and Engineering (saai) has prepared specifically for this exhibition.
All of the models are organized to scale, placed in their content-related and historic context, and presented on an approx. 50-meter-long table construction. The technical and design context of the individual models and projects is supplemented by the original plans and detailed picture material.”
Throughout his life, Frei Otto collected and archived photographs of structures from the natural world, which served as inspiration to him and was also a definitive source of research. He consistently modeled his architecture and engineering designs based on what he found in nature.
Visitors can check out 18 tables full of large-format photographs of Otto's studies of nature, like spider webs, sand structures, and soap bubbles (the tables are inspired by the tables in Frei Otto’s studio in Warmbronn). The photos provide insight into “the poetic and scientific cosmos of Frei Otto’s thoughts and imagination”.
“Frei Otto’s innovative potential is based on the dramatic inter-disciplinary nature of his thinking that straddles architecture, technology, science and society. The image and technical media dimension of the exhibition play a major role in this respect”, FAR frohn&rojas describes.
“A key component of the exhibition is Frei Otto's 'open archive', which comprises of 18 over-sized archive shelves that are constructed in a circular form around both courtyards and therefore provide the exhibition with cohesion. With the use of selected original plans, photos, books and reproductions, visitors are guided through the key events of Frei Otto's life such as: the Development Institute for Lightweight Building in Berlin, the world-famous Institute for Lightweight Structures in Stuttgart and his Warmbronn studio, to groundbreaking projects like the German Pavilion for the World Expo '67, the Multihalle in Mannheim and his initial research into Stuttgart 21.
The shelves of the archive function as a freely accessible storage area and a place of knowledge that straddles presentation and storage.”
You can find some of FAR frohn&rojas' drawings of the exhibition in the gallery below.
Exhibition design: FAR frohn&rojas Berlin, Santigo de Chile and Los Angeles
Team: Marc Frohn, Mario Rojas Toledo, Max Koch, Daniel Stanojevic, Leonie Weyrauch,Maximilian Kessler
Location: ZKM, Karlsruhe
Curator: Georg Vrachliotis
Co-curators: Marc Frohn, Martin Kunz, Joachim Kleinmanns
Project Assistant: Julia Schiffer
Visual Design: Studio Lukas Feireiss with Floyd E. Schulz
Media partner: ARCH+
Rededication of the GLOBAL modular walls by Stadelmann Schmutz Wössner Architekten (SSW) as tables by FAR frohn&rojas.
shared project of the Archive of South West Germany for
Architecture and Engineering (saai) of the KIT and the
Wüstenrot Foundation in cooperation with ZKM | Karlsruhe.
All images courtesy of FAR frohn&rojas.
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