Ted Cullinan 1931 to 2019

Regarded as a ‘pioneer of sustainable design’, Ted Cullinan, founder of Cullinan Studios and the architect behind the Stirling Prize-shortlisted Weald and Downland Gridshell sadly died on 11th November 2019.

Mike Cook, Partner at Buro Happold, reminisces about this much-loved architect and the impact he has had on our industry:

“Ted Cullinan was an inspiration for so many of us who care about creating places where people come first. His collaboration with Ted Happold and Michael Dickson bore fruit in projects such as the well-loved Weald and Downland Gridshell and the Centre for Mathematical Science in Cambridge. He was a passionate and prolific draftsman and never happier than when at a drawing board. When I first met Ted it was to talk about the competition for Cardiff’s proposed Opera House. He was pre-occupied drawing the parking layouts for the basement so it was a while before I realised this hard-working draftsman was indeed the great man I had come to see. For Ted, there was no problem, big or small, that couldn’t be resolved by drawing it through.

Ted was important for architects, engineers, clients and all the thousands of people who quietly enjoy the legacy he has given us. But perhaps Ted’s greatest legacy is Cullinan Studios, which he founded, that continues to show us how humanity with humility is the first principle of good architecture.”

The Weald and Downland Gridshell includes a beautifully designed wooden gridshell workshop elegantly nestled into the chalk hillside below. Image: Buro Happold/ Adam Wilson

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