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Balmond, Cecil

Cecil Balmond
Portrait, Michael Mella
Structural Engineering
Advanced Geometries

Cecil Balmond was born in 1943 in Sri Lanka. He received a B.S. from the University of Southampton and his Masters in Civil Engineering from Imperial College, London. He originally wanted to be a musician, but Joined Arup in 1968. It took ten years for him to become aware of all the possibilities of structures, which happened while working on the Staatsgal-erie with James Stirling. In 2000 founded the Advanced Geometry Unit and he became deputy chairman of Arup in 2003.
Balmond takes the position that buildings should not look like “feats of engineering but instead they appear so integral to each project that you can’t tell the engineering from the architecture.”(2) He also feels that engineers should work with architects from the beginning because he says otherwise “it cuts off the building’s possibilities and you’re limited simply to deciding where the columns go to support that facade—it’s all about just refining something.”(2) He works alongside some of the most acclaimed architects and artists repeatedly, such as Anish Kapoor and Rem Koolhaas, who he has worked on over 30 projects with. He, also, recently started designing his own buildings and bridges, his first was the Pedro and Ines Footbridge in Coimbra, Portugal pictured below.
He has written the books No. 9, the Search for the Sigma Code, Informal: the Informal in Architecture and Engineering, and most recently Element and also co-written several other books. The books express his love of numbers and their use when designing architecture and structures. Informal won the 2005 Banister Fletcher Prize for the best book of the year on architecture. Cecil Balmond has also been a visiting professor at the architecture schools of both Harvard and Yale, as well as, the London School of Economics and the University of Pennsylvania.
In July 2010 Cecil Balmond left Arup to start his own firm, Balmond Studios, because he “wanted to have more time to make some of the big art installations [he has] been doing for the past four or five years.”(3) He remains an advisor for his remaining projects, such as the London Olympic Orbit project(pictured below), and will remain a Arup Fellow.


Pedro and Ines Footbridge, Coimbra, Portugal

Weave Bridge, Philadelphia, United States

ArcelorMittal Orbit, London, England

Written by Sarah Turner

January 31, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Posted in Engineers

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