Toshiko Mori’s introduction to Werner Sobek’s Franzen Lecture on Architecture and the Environment

The 3rd Franzen Lecture on Architecture and the Environment, an annual invited lecture by an international figure whose work has significant implications for understanding and reconceiving the relationship between architecture and the environment, was delivered by Werner Sobek on December 2, 2009 at the Great Hall of Cooper Union in New York City.

Werner Sobek is the Mies van der Rohe Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology and head of the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK) at the University of Stuttgart, where he studied architecture and structural engineering. As successor to architect Frei Otto and engineer Joerg Schlaich, Werner Sobek is an advocate for an interdisciplinary approach to architecture and engineering both in training and professional practice.

While the ILEK specializes in the research of new materials and new concepts for lightweight and adaptive structures, Werner Sobek’s office is one of the world’s leading engineering consultancies with offices in Stuttgart, Cairo, Dubai, Frankfurt, Khartoum, Moscow, and New York. The work of Werner Sobek is defined not only by its engineering and emphasis on sustainable systems but by a rigorous application of design. Founded in 1992, the studio’s emphasis lies on lightweight load-bearing structures, high-rise buildings, transparent facade systems, and special structures in steel, glass, titanium, textiles, and wood.

The annual Franzen Lecture on Architecture and the Environment was created in honor of long-time League trustee Ulrich Franzen. The Franzen Lecture on Archiecture and the Environment is made possible by contributions from the Riggio Foundation, Juliana Terian Gilbert, and Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown.


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