Photography: John Parra/Getty Images
The Pritzker Architecture Prize honored architect Frei Otto with a black tie dinner and award ceremony at the New World Center in Miami Beach. The evening celebrated the life and career of the late Otto, the 40th Laureate of the Prize and the second laureate from Germany.
Hosts Cindy Pritzker and Tom & Margot Pritzker were joined by Pritzker Architecture Prize Jurors Lord Peter Palumbo, Alejandro Aravena, Justice Stephen Breyer, Kristin Feireiss, Yung Ho Chang, Benedetta Tagliabue, Ratan Tata as well as Glenn Murcutt (2002 Laureate) and Richard Rogers (2007 Laureate); Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates Shigeru Ban (2014), Lord Norman Foster (1999), Zaha Hadid (2004), Thom Mayne (2005), Jean Nouvel (2008) as well as jurors Richard Rogers (2007) and Glenn Murcutt (2002), among other guests.
Upon arrival, guests entered a four-point tensile tent first designed by Otto as a music pavilion for the 1955 Federal Garden Exhibition in Kassel, Germany, constructed for the occasion. An example of his pioneering message of technology for the sake of society, the design and materials of the tent embodied the simple elegance and prescience of his life work. Otto created a new paradigm of sustainable architecture, initiating a worldwide industry of energy-saving fabric structures. 2014 Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban, a close friend and longtime collaborator of Otto, implemented Otto’s design with the support of Birdair (TAIYO), the leading contractor of custom tensile membrane structures in the world.
Mayor Philip Levine and Executive Director, Martha Thorne gave welcoming remarks after guests were treated to a Fanfare for the Prize composed to Michael Tilson Thomas and then seated to dinner in the Performance Hall of the New World Symphony. Prior to dinner, guests enjoyed remarks by the Chair of the Pritzker Prize jury Lord Peter Palumbo, and by Tom Pritzker, with architect Christine Otto-Kanstinger accepting the medallion on behalf of her father.
Lord Peter Palumbo spoke of Otto and his work to represent “An architecture that celebrated the human sprit and the human condition. An architecture that exuded spiritual generosity. This free spirit was able to imbue and inform his architecture with the literature of life in the way that people feel sublimating the self in the interest and for the good of humanity and most especially for the poor and defenseless.”
Architecture historian and critic Francesco Dal Co moderated a panel with Shigeru Ban, Lord Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, and Richard Rogers in complement to a film featuring the late Laureate in which Otto noted “I only have one dream. One dream. It is the oldest of humanity, of man, in time. It is paradise. I would like to give paradise to everyone.”
The tent designed by Otto will remain as a public installation at the New World Center through Saturday, May 16 and will move later this year to the Miami Design District, whose generous support made the project possible.
About the Pritzker Architecture Prize
The Pritzker Architecture Prize was founded in 1979 by the late Jay A. Pritzker and his wife, Cindy. Its purpose is to honor annually living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and excellence, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture. The laureates receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion. For more information, please visit www.pritzkerprize.com.