Cullinan was ‘10 minutes from death’
Ted Cullinan, who won planning permission this week for his Maggie’s Centre North East cancer care centre, is continuing to recover from an illness that nearly killed him
The £3 million project (pictured) was the last scheme Cullinan, aged 79, worked on before he was taken into University College Hospital London in mid-September with severe abdominal pain.
At one point the RIBA Gold Medal winner was given just ten minutes to live before he was diagnosed with pancreatitis.
Kate Cullinan, his daughter, said: ‘My dad thought he had food poisoning and went to bed complaining of stomach problems. The next morning, my mother rang to tell me my father was dying. Within 30 minutes he crashed again and they took him into theatre. The doctors didn’t expect him to survive, so they renamed him Tough Guy.’
For the first two months Cullinan, who became a Royal Designer for Industry in November, was sedated and unable to talk.
However, it now appears that Cullinan will be transferred from a critical care unit to an open ward within the next fortnight and it is understood he is already receiving updates on projects from members of his 30-strong north London-based practice.
Speaking about the impact on the practice and whether Cullinan will return to the studio, Kate added: ‘It’s amazing. Architects never stop. His mum lived to 103 and in his mind he will live forever.
‘The firm has been great. He’s exhausted, but architecture is his life and he wants get back in the thick of it all as soon as possible.’
Ted Cullinan Architects partner Roddy Langmuir said: ‘We expect a full recovery soon and look forward to him coming back to work at the office.’
The Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle is expected to start on site this summer.