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Engineer to the stars Balmond to go it alone

Starchitect engineer Cecil Balmond is to leave Arup after 42 years to set up on his own

Balmond, who has collaborated with architects including James Stirling and has helped design a series of Serpentine Pavilions including those by Toyo Ito and Alvaro Siza, also worked with Ole Scheeren while at OMA on the iconic China Central Television Station.

‘Arup has been a big part of my life and I wanted to find more room and have space for myself and do the things I love to do,’ said the 66 year-old who has headed Arup’s Advanced Geometry Unit since 2000.

It is understood Balmond will officially leave early next year and set up a new outfit, named Cecil Balmond, but will continue to work as a consultant for Arup.

Balmond, who is collaborating with Anish Kapoor and Ushida Findlay on the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower for the London 2012 Games added: ‘Initially I’d like to do more installation work for exhibitions.

‘I enjoyed working on the Hedge at the Graham Foundation in Chicago and Element at Tokyo’s Opera City Gallery.’

He added: ‘It could be a sign of the times but I see my work evolving as I stand down from my heavy corporate duties. I’ll have a clearer picture in January – I’m feeling my way.’

Meanwhile architecture big-hitter  Scheeren, the former partner of Rem Koolhaas at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), has also announced the formation of a breakaway studio and unveiled plans to open an office in London (see a full interview in next week’s AJ).


Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director at the Serpentine Gallery: ‘Cecil Balmond and Arup have contributed an enormous amount to the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commission over its 10 year history, it simply would not have been possible without them. The Serpentine Gallery wishes Cecil every success in his new venture and we look forward to working with him and with Arup in the future.’



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