Cecil Balmond

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Serpentine Pavillion 2002.jpg
ArcelorMittal Orbit (7914804310).jpg

Cecil Balmond is a Sri Lankan – British designer, artist, architect, and writer. In 1968 Balmond joined Ove Arup & Partners, leading him to become deputy chairman. In 2000 he founded design and research group, the AGU (Advanced Geometry Unit).

He currently holds the Paul Philippe Cret Chair at PennDesign as Professor of Architecture where he is also the founding director of the Non Linear Systems Organization, a material and structural research unit.[1] He has also been Kenzo Tange Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Architecture, Saarinen professor at Yale University School of Architecture and visiting fellow at London School of Economics.[1]

In 2010 Balmond set up his own architectural practice, Balmond Studio, with offices in London and Colombo. The research led practice is involved with art, architecture, design and consulting. One current project is the Gretna Landmark, Star of Caledonia for which Cecil is the artist. It is an illuminated sculpture that marks the Scottish and English border crossing, and will be completed in 2015.


He went to Trinity College, Kandy and later studied engineering at the University of Colombo. After living briefly in Nigeria he moved to Britain and continued his studies at the University of Southampton and at Imperial College, London.


Balmond sees his work as an open-ended visual application of theory, following the principle that "structure as conceptual rigour is architecture". His approach to structure is derived by theories of complexity, non-linear organisation and emergence. Through his research, Balmond investigates mathematical concepts and their influence on natural forms and structures, interrogating algorithms, fractals, rhythm and cellular structure.[2]

Life and work[edit]

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Ove Arup & Partners

Balmond was deputy chairman at Arup. The AGU at Arup brought together architects, mathematicians, programmers, artists, musicians and scientists. It investigated structural systems, delving to the roof of order and patterns and engaging with music, algorithms, and malignant cellular structure to create abstract concepts that inspired tectonic forms.[1]Under Balmond's artistic direction at the AGU, Balmond worked on some of the world's most famous structures including the Centre Pompidou-Metz with Shigeru Ban and CCTV tower with Rem Koolhaas.

Serpentine Gallery pavilion 2006 by Koolhaas and Balmond - geograph.org.uk - 214757.jpg

Serpentine Gallery

Balmond has also been a creative force behind London's Serpentine Pavilion programme. The Ito-Balmond Serpentine Pavilion, 2002 was crafted in glass and white-painted aluminium and featured a scatter of lines, the product of an algorithm designed by Balmond. The pavilion is now located at a luxury hotel in South of France.[2] Balmond also designed pavilions with Daniel Libeskind (2001), Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura (2006) and Rem Koolhaas (2006).

Balmond Studio

Balmond set up his own studio and workshop in London 2010. Balmond's own designs are numerous and include Weave Bridge, a bridge for University of Pennsylvania (2010), the Pedro e Inês footbridge in Coimbra (2006) and a $400m mixed use development in Asia.

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The Orbit

The ArcelorMittal Orbit is designed by Balmond and Anish Kapoor. It is a 120m high sculpture designed for the 2012 Olympics in Stratford, London. Balmond also collaborated with Kapoor on Marsyas a sculpture which was displayed in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern (2002), and also co-designed the giant Tees Valley art installations with Kapoor. Other key works by Balmond include a radical masterplan for Battersea Power Station (2006) and the Victoria & Albert Museum extension with Daniel Libeskind (1996).

Selection of Current Projects[edit]

Art and Architecture[edit]





Professional Associations & Teaching[edit]

Professional Associations[edit]



  1. ^ a b Jonathan Glancey (2007-07-23). "Jonathan Glancey on radical architect Cecil Balmond | Art and design". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  2. ^ http://www.worldarchitecturefestival.com/judging_judges_detail.cfm?officeContactId=2&eventYear=2008
  3. ^ http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/latestnews/050809.html
  4. ^ http://www.nso.penndesign.net/pdf/NSO_personnel.pdf
  5. ^ "A Return to Techne: On Cecil Balmond – Art Signal Magazine". Magazine.art-signal.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  6. ^ http://magazine.art-signal.com/en/a-return-to-techne-on-cecil-balmond/
  7. ^ http://www.sundaytimes.lk/100606/Plus/plus_01.html
  8. ^ http://trib.com/news/local/article_306cd0bb-9af3-5236-9237-9e7545cd8618.html
  9. ^ http://www.operacity.jp/ag/exh114/e/introduction.html
  10. ^ Kabat, Jennifer (2007-02-07). "Thinking Outside the Box". Businessweek.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  11. ^ http://www.jannuzzismith.com/informal/resources/presspack.pdf


External links[edit]