In 1996, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson traveled to Iceland to meet Einar Thorsteinn (1942-2015). His request of the architectural was simple: He needed help building a geodesic dome and Einar was an expert. This wasn't atypical—Einar Thorsteinn's career was marked by people who needed his help. In the 1970s, he worked with Frei Otto to deploy tensile structures at the Olympic Village; NASA tapped him to design mobile lunar research laboratories with Guillermo Trotti; and, right before his death, Einar attempted to build a vast domed city in Iceland's hinterlands. Unfortunately,
A protégé of Buckminster Fuller, Einar Thorsteinn is the mad scientist behind Olafur Eliasson's most renegade works. His shapeshifting career has touched on polyhedral volumes, alternative mathematics, life-size spherical shapes, Icelandic folk tales, "outer space architecture," and crystallography. Thorsteinn is an architect in the same way that Lebbeus Woods or James Turrell are architects—their work all shares a current of the utopic, otherworldly, and experimental. Below, is a brief retrospective of a man who finished a recent interview by saying, "On my deathbed, I want to say that my life has been one big experiment." Here are six of those experiments.
After his graduation from the Technical University of Hannover, Einar Thorsteinn worked under Frei Otto from 1969 to 1972. Integral in the design of Munich's Olympic Village, Thorsteinn helped conceive of the light-weight structures that would eventually garner Otto his posthumous Pritzker Prize.
Einar Thorsteinn has exhibited through Stalke Galleri from 2002.
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