Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cecil Balmond and the Bonfire of the Vanities

This is an article I should have completed eight months ago. It concerns the most brilliant man I’ve yet to meet, the engineer, architect and polymath Cecil Balmond. A striking exhibition of his work, Cecil Balmond: Solid Void, is entering its final week at the Graham Foundation, 4 West Burton Place. Sorry for the short notice, but you will regret it if you miss it.

Is the new austerity the death of "star-chitecture"? And what caused eight months of writer's block? An article on architecture after the fall, the work, thought and relevance of Cecil Balmond, and a brief history of the Indian Rope Trick -all copiously illustrated with images and videos - here.


Anonymous said...

Artists are sometimes adept at claiming to use mathematics, but too often it is just a form of pretentiousness. I don't want to judge Balmond definitively, but a casual viewing of his thing at the Graham left me unimpressed.

Conrad Brown said...

I'm just astounded. A few years ago architecture of the day just stopped speaking to me. I mean it got wilder and wilder for no good reason. This information on Cecil Balmond has me hungering for more. Thank you for turning me on, again.

jjanda said...

I know my comments are a couple years too late but I just found this article. I have to say that the comments from Anonymous make me very sad and are a reflection of the state of current architectural discourse. I was fortunate enough to be a part of Balmond's first studio at the University of Pennsylvania a few years ago and I can assure you that there is no pretentiousness in his work. Lynn's assessment of him is spot on - he is a poet at heart with the mind of a brilliant mathematician that moves faster than most can keep up with. Trust me, the man and his work are something entirely new in the field and should not be dismissed after a "casual viewing" because you might not immediately understand his work. Keep an eye on Cecil - he recently left Arup and is now heading up his own office in London - there is sure to be some unbelievable work emerging from his new endeavor.