Cecil Balmond awarded the University of Virginia's 2016 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture

Cecil Balmond awarded the University of Virginia's 2016 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture

(Courtesy University of Virginia)

(Courtesy University of Virginia)

The University of Virginia has awarded esteemed Sri Lankan-British engineer Cecil Balmond its highest accolade in the form of the 2016 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture.

ArcelorMittal Orbit (Courtesy Wikipedia)

This year marks the 50th year of the award, with Balmond joining previous winners including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Philip JohnsonFrank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor and Richard Rogers.

The award acknowledges Balmond’s contribution to the discipline, with his notable works including the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the Serpentine Pavilion, and the Victoria and Albert Museum Spiral (all in London).

Balmond, throughout his career, has worked extensively with Dutch firm OMA collaborating on the China Central Television Headquarters in Beijing, the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and the Congrexpo in Lille, France. He has also contributed to a number of publications in the field of academia. In 2000, Balmond founded the critical design and research group Advanced Geometry Unit.

Leslie Greene Bowman, President and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, said, “his vast contributions to science, architecture, academia, diplomacy, and culture reflect an insatiable appetite for useful knowledge and dedication to improving life in a new nation. We are honored to welcome the 2016 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal recipients, each of whom has had, and will continue to have, a profound impact on our world.”

Speaking of the award, Balmond commented, “for a long time I have seen the name of Mr Jefferson as a talisman, defining bold horizons and being an ardent brand for discovery and refined design. To be part of this heritage, in receiving the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal for Architecture this year is indeed a very great honor and one that truly delights me.” 

Serpent Gallery (Courtesy Wikipedia)

The award will be presented by Bowman at the University on April 13, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. Locally, the day is also known as Founders Day, as it was the day Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1819.

At the ceremony, Balmond will give a free public lecture. An exhibition of his work, titled Informal, will showcase projects of note. The exhibition will be open to the public and on display at the University from March 28 through April 15.