Today, the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation announced Cecil Balmond as the 2016 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture. Founder of Balmond Studio and former deputy chair at Arup, the Sri Lankan-British architect, artist, and writer has long been a force working in the intersection of architecture, art, and science.
The Medal is part of the university's tradition in observing U.S. president Thomas Jefferson's birthday on April 13. Individuals who receive the accolade are recognized for their dedication and achievements in areas that President Jefferson held in high regard — specifically in architecture, law, citizen leadership, and the newly added global innovation.
Before establishing Balmond Studio in 2011, Cecil Balmond was deputy chairman at Arup and was also in charge of the AGU (Advanced Geometry Unit) design group. He has also collaborated on numerous iconic architectural projects. Some of those structures include the CCTV Tower, the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower in London, and the Centre Pompidou in Metz with Shigeru Ban. Balmond has also collaborated with architects in the Serpentine Pavilion, including the 2006 Pavilion with Rem Koolhaas and with Toyo Ito in 2002.
Furthermore, Balmond gained international recognition for his extensive research in design and scientific theory, spending more than four decades investigating the relationship between form and the foundational roots of order at the core of life. In academia, he currently holds the Paul Philippe Cret Chair at Penn Design as Professor of Architecture, where he founded the Non-Linear Systems Organization — a material and structural research unit at the University of Pennsylvania.
"Cecil Balmond’s work as a structural engineer is synonymous with new modes of creative collaboration between architects and engineers made possible through advanced computational logics," stated Elizabeth K. Meyer, dean of the University of Virginia School of Architecture. "His keen appreciation of the affective impact of geometry and rhythm on architectural experience and his expertise in advanced computational design thinking has altered the very boundaries between form-making and structure."
Balmond will be presented with the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture on April 13.
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