Centre for Mathematics, Cambridge (2000)
Designer: Edward Cullinan Architects
Copyright: Robert Elwall/RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (2000)
The spontaneous gasp of surprise followed by an approving round of applause that greeted the announcement to RIBA Council of the 2008 Royal Gold Medallist demonstrated the popularity of the choice. ‘About bloody time too,’ cried one voice from the back benches.
The citation by RIBA President Sunand Prasad – a former partner of Ted’s - has something of the poetic quality of Cullinan’s best work and deserves to be quoted at length.
‘Over five decades of inspirational practice and teaching, Ted Cullinan CBE has shown us how a keen awareness of the natural environment, and a deep engagement with those who use and experience buildings, can generate compelling and poetic architecture. Long before they became widely accepted, Cullinan had made his own versions of ‘sustainability’ and ‘consultation’ central to his highly original and inventive approach to putting buildings together; an approach also distinguished by its determination to root architecture firmly in its context ...
Lecture diagram entitled 'The history of building and design in the last 30 years' (2002)
Designer: Cullinan, Edward (1931-)
Copyright: Edward Cullinan/RIBA British Architectural Library Drawings Collection (2002)
‘Cullinan’s work is animated by a strong belief in architecture as a social art ... but the concern with the social is never allowed to be merely worthy. His exploration of this potential of architecture has been the inseparable twin of a passionate study of the character of physical form at all scales: from the flexibility of small timber sections and the thinness of aluminium, to the profound action of landscape on human emotions.
'From the Horder House (1960, his first new building) to the Weald & Downland Museum (2002) an audacious re-thinking of the elements of building and of constructional assembly has characterised Cullinan's best work.'
Cullinan's work combines ' … sensitivity to context; roots in history and local culture; brilliance in organisation of plan, section and massing; mastery of construction and detail; depth of insight into and concern for social dynamic; and sheer inventiveness'. Peter Buchanan