RIBA Gold Medallist, teacher and much-loved architect Ted Cullinan has died
The architect behind groundbreaking buildings such as the Grade II*-listed RMC headquarters in Surrey (1990), the Stirling Prize-shortlisted Weald and Downland Gridshell (2002) and the green-roofed Centre for Mathematical Sciences (2003) died in his sleep on Monday (11 November).
Born in Islington, London, in 1931, Edward Cullinan (known as Ted) studied at Ampleforth College and Queens’ College in Cambridge before training at the Architectural Association and the University of California at Berkeley.
He worked for Denys Lasdun in the early 60s, notably on the famous ziggurats at the University of East Anglia, before setting up Edward Cullinan Architects as a co-operative in 1965.
In a statement released today, the practice said his death had been ’hard for us to take in’.
It reads: ‘The inspirational founder of our practice was a true pathfinder for all architects. Ted was designing for climate change 60 years ago with a holistic vision for the practice of architecture that he described as a social act.
‘His legacy is in the buildings and places he transformed, in his model of architectural practice, but perhaps most powerfully in the thousands of people he taught and inspired throughout his long life. We share our deepest sympathies with his family and all his many friends.’
In 2008, Cullinan was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal. Three years later he survived a life-threatening pancreatitis and returned to his practice, which subsequently completed the Newcastle Maggie’s Centre in 2013.
Cullinan taught throughout his life and was most recently visiting professor at the University of Nottingham, having held professorships at the Bartlett (1978–9), Sheffield University (1985–87), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1985), and the University of Edinburgh (1987–90).
Alan Jones, RIBA President
Architecture has lost a pioneer. Ted will be sorely missed and fondly remembered for the incredible contribution he made to architecture and society. He was a radical thinker, well ahead of his time on environmental issues and building sustainably. I am pleased that Ted was presented with UK architecture’s highest accolade during his lifetime – the 2008 Royal Gold Medal – in recognition of his immense talent and leadership.
Not only did Ted shape our landscape – leaving behind dozens of ground-breaking buildings – but he inspired the next generation as one of the great teachers of our times, inspiring thousands of students and colleagues with his enthusiasm, energy and boundless knowledge. Our thoughts are with Ted’s family, friends and colleagues”
RIP Ted Cullinan. I have very fond memories of the two day design Charrettes that Ted used to run at the start of each year at Nottingham uni Archi school. He called it the “Tour de Pass-en-ville” a, french-ish, play on the word Nottingham. The whole school came together to work— Owen Pritchard (@Owenmeowenyou) November 12, 2019
RIP Ted Cullinan. A real gent.— edwin heathcote (@edwinheathcote) November 12, 2019
We are sorry to hear about the death of Ted Cullinan— Historic England (@HistoricEngland) November 12, 2019
His house in Camden combines natural and modern materials, vernacular and early modern references
It was built by Ted and his wife Roz, with their family and friends in 'two years of weekends'https://t.co/fKXVIOOw6n pic.twitter.com/oPkNGwbBr6