Frei Otto’s silent membrane and steel slopes woven into the grassy hills of Olympiapark are reminders of an optimistic time, of the idea that opposites could meet through the measured hand of engineering and design. An industrialized culture remembering its origins, the signifiers of which are never far in Bavaria. Organic spiderwebs made from steel and glass and concrete mimic the valleys and woods that were left behind.

While there is elegance to the engineering, and the optics are pleasing, the structures never achieve their goal of appearing unforced and natural. The park and its architecture appear sculpted without context. In an attempt to create something like nature, a sanitized spirit of nature, the sheer amount of force applied by its creators remains perceptible. Where the Japanese practiced bowing and weaving with the leaves and shrubs and moss for centuries, the germans knew only execution. All plans executed, all goals achieved.

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