Ted Cullinan: Architect, builder, educator, storyteller

Cullinan - HouseOnSouthDowns-Drawings

Peter Clegg pays tribute to the visionary architect who eschewed labels and did things his own way

Some architects are known just for their buildings: others are known for the influence they have had through education and inspiration. Ted Cullinan will be remembered for both. He was a storyteller – in architecture as well as life.

His buildings told stories by themselves, of why and how they were made. And he told their stories by drawing them – every concept and detail hand-drawn on an overhead projector as Ted spoke entrancingly in a way that so many of us have since tried and failed to imitate.

I remember the first talk he gave us at Cambridge in 1969 started with the building of the Marvin House on a beach in California in 1960. It went through the building of his house in Camden which was constructed in the mid-60s over 200 weekends. Here was someone who shattered the moulds of conventional architectural pedagogy – a lapsed Irish Catholic storyteller with an injection of the beat generation from California.

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