Ted Cullinan: Architect, builder, educator, storyteller

Cullinan - HouseOnSouthDowns-Drawings

Source: Cullinan Studio

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.

This is premium content. 

Only logged in subscribers have access to it.

Login or SUBSCRIBE to view this story

Gated access promo

Existing subscriber? LOGIN

A subscription to Building Design will provide:

  • Unlimited architecture news from around the UK
  • Reviews of the latest buildings from all corners of the world
  • Full access to all our online archives
  • PLUS you will receive a digital copy of WA100 worth over £45.

Subscribe now for unlimited access.

Alternatively REGISTER for free access on selected stories and sign up for email alerts