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Frei Otto, Carlfried Mutschler — Multihalle.

The temporary multipurpose hall built by Frei Otto and Carlfried Mutschler for the 1975 Federal Horticultural Show in Mannheim ranks as the world’s largest wooden grid shell construction. Although it was actually put under a preservation order in 1998, an international debate is now underway to discuss whether to demolish or maintain this structure. Working by and large without any digital computation technology, Frei Otto used a delicate suspended model to design the complex roof: modelling, drawing, and measurement techniques formed the basis for a creative culture of experimentation that involved an ongoing calibration of hand and eye, of scientific observation and technical skill—a form of manual and intellectual self-alignment, in which the process of conceptualization also succeeded in triggering a collective discourse on the future of society. Drawing on materials from the archives of Carlfried Mutschler and Frei Otto that are for the most part unpublished, the book presents the history of this experimental building for the first time.

Georg Vrachliotis: Frei Otto, Carlfried Mutschler, Multihalle, Spector Books, Leipzig, 2017.


Exhibition on Frei Otto´s Multihalle on the occasion of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale

Preview: Thursday and Friday, 24 May and 25 May 2018, 10 am to 7 pm
Opening: 24 May, 5.30 pm
Exhibition duration: 26 May to 29 July 2018
Tuesday to Sunday, 2 pm to 7 pm
Information: http://sleeping-beauty-multihalle.de/

On the occasion of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, the saai at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will present Frei Otto’s and Carlfried Mutschlers Multihalle in an exhibition in the context of this year’s biennial theme, “Freespace.” Sleeping Beauty follows on from the successful exhibition “Frei Otto – Thinking by Modeling,” which was hosted by the ZKM in Karlsruhe from November 2016 to March 2017. The show in Venice focuses on the Multihalle and will be the first exhibition in the world dedicated to this fascinating building. Initiators and curators of the exhibition are Berlin-based urbanist and curator Sally Below and Georg Vrachliotis. Both are long-standing advisors to the City of Mannheim on the development of the Multihalle. 

Architect of the exhibition is Marc Frohn, professor at KIT, and his company FAR frohn&rojas.
Graphic design by Floyd E. Schulze, WTHM—Büro für Gestaltung, Berlin.

The exhibition gives visitors a double view of the Multihalle. Looking back at the past, it presents original archival material to relate the building’s experimental history. The exhibition also looks toward the future. Today, after several years of vacancy and 40 years after the construction of the Multihalle, which was originally planned as a temporary building, the City of Mannheim is working together with a dedicated group of artists, architects, local residents, concerned citizens, engineers, and universities on a new sustainable concept aimed at ensuring its long-term preservation. This open and collectively designed process is unique in Germany

Venue: Gondolieri Bauer Servizi, Giudecca 211, 30133 Venedig
Partner: City of Mannheim
Supporters: Architect’s Chamber Baden-Württemberg, Wüstenrot Stiftung, Wilkhahn
Media partners: ARCH+, Detail

Foto Copyright: Christoph Engeland  Cristobal Palma


saai | Südwestdeutsches Archiv für Architektur und Ingenieurbau
Leitung: Prof. Dr. Georg Vrachliotis
Astrid Piaskowy, Claudia Iordache
Kaiserstr. 8, D-76131 Karlsruhe
Tel.: +49 721 608-44376
Öffnungszeiten: nach Vereinbarung