Birdair Inc. Amherst, NY

Project Details

Fabric 1

Précontraint 1002 Fluotop T2
Producer: Ferrari S.A.

Engineer Company 1
Birdair, Inc.

Design Company
Birdair, Inc.

Architect Company
Frei Otto (original design)

Fabrication Company
Birdair, Inc.

Subcontractor Company
Birdair, Inc.

Graphics Company

Project Manager Company
Birdair, Inc.

Installation Company
Birdair, Inc.

Please describe the project specifications

To design and construct an approximately 1,000-square-foot replica of Frei Otto's 1955 canopy design structure in honoring architect Frei Otto at the 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize ceremony.

What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?

The 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize ceremony honoring architect Frei Otto was held May 16th beneath a Birdair open-air, hyperbola shaped, 1,000-square-foot PVC membrane structure, designed as a replica of a stunning, 1955 Frei Otto canopy design. Birdair was honored to design and build the canopy for the ceremony, which took place in Miami Beach at the New World Center, a venue designed by 1989 Pritzker Prize Laureate Frank Gehry.

What is unique or complex about the project?

What was unique about this project was that canopy was a replica of the original 1955 Frei Otto deisgn. Frei Otto was an influential architect, a visionary, utopian, ecologist, pioneer of lightweight materials, protector of natural resources and a generous collaborator with architects, engineers, and biologists. He passed away at the age of 89, in his native Germany on March 9, 2015 shortly before the Pritzker Prize ceremony in May 2015. Otto pioneered the use of modern, lightweight, tent-like structures. In 1958, he founded the first of several institutions that were dedicated to lightweight structures — the Institute for Development of Lightweight Construction. Otto wrote extensively throughout his career. His books include Biology and Building and Ancient Architects.

What were the results of the project?

As a result, the temporary hypar structure was built in honor of Frei Otto who was receiving one of the highest honors an architect can receive during their career and lifetime. Birdair was very proud to be selected to design and build the canopy for the Pritzker Architecture Prize ceremony, as Otto was a pioneer in the field in which Birdair strives to continue to innovate.

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