Between Stirling and Olivetti: Ted Cullinan’s workplaces design in the UK

Spada, Marco (2022) Between Stirling and Olivetti: Ted Cullinan’s workplaces design in the UK. Architecture, 2 (2). pp. 196-213. ISSN 2673-8945

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Abstract: Ted Cullinan’s (1931–2019) work for Olivetti is complex and fascinating: his mixed-function
buildings in Belfast, Dundee, Carlisle and Derby are unique and astonishing artefacts, also if almost
unknown to the broader architecture audience. The purpose of this article is to reassemble the phases
of this brief but extremely incisive collaboration between Cullinan, James Stirling and the Italian
company. From his first Olivetti project, shared with “Big Jim” Stirling in Haslemere—a refurbishment
of an Edwardian pre-existence converted into a residence for students and technicians—to the design
for Dundee, Carlisle, Belfast and Derby, the impact of Cullinan’s pre-sustainable ideas is palpable.
We find these ideas in the elegance of the relationship between building and landscape, in the social
agenda, but also in the representativeness of the iconic roofs and in the materials. His work exhibits
an architectural versatility that has allowed the buildings to keep intact their essential characteristics,
despite their subsequent destinies. Re-reading Cullinan in relation to Olivetti’s buildings, therefore,
is two-fold: on the one hand, to reconsider the English architect among the ‘creators’ of the Olivetti
image, and on the other to underline how Cullinan was a fundamental interpreter of the ideas of
unity, between architecture and industrial design, in a unique phase of the British technological
history of the 1970s.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: architecture, sustainability, Ted Cullinan, James Stirling, Olivetti, history and theory of architecture, history of architecture, theory of architecture
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Arts & Humanities
Depositing User: Marco Spada
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2022 14:53
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2022 14:53

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