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Happold, Edmund “Ted”

Edmund “Ted” Happold

Born: 1930
Died: January 12, 1996

Ted Happold once said, “[A] world which sees art and engineering as divided is not seeing the world as a whole,” and such a statement is what defined the structural engineer’s life and career. He was born to a serious and academic Quaker family. His father was the first Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Leeds and held a Masters degree, PhD, and Doctor of Science. His mother took degrees in both economics and history, was a founding member of the Youth Hostels Association, and took in many refugees at the beginning of World War II.

Happold became a student at the Department of Geology at the University of Leeds in 1949. A year later, he volunteered to completely construct the foundations of a large portable greenhouse. “The adrenaline rush proved intoxicating,” and, soon afterward, Ted Happold applied and was accepted by Sir Robert McAlpine as a junior engineer.

Ted Happold returned to the University of Leeds in 1954, but studied within the Department of Civil Engineering instead of the Department of Geology. In 1958, he received a BS with honors in Civil Engineering and, shortly after, traveled Finland, Sweden, and Denmark to study modern architectural engineering.

During the next few years, Ted Happold worked for the architect Alvar Aalto and Ove Arup and Partners while studying architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic in the evenings. During this time period, he worked on projects such as the Sydney Opera House and the Pompidou Center.

In 1967, Ted Happold met his wife, Eve. The wedding was held in the Hollamby/Happold extension of the West Norwood Library, “and from that moment on the real partnership of life began.”

The University of Bath offered the Chair of Building Engineering to Ted in 1976, giving him “the opportunity to develop a joint school of architecture and engineering”. Soon afterward, Ted Happold founded Buro Happold with seven other partners on May 1st, 1976. The original structural engineering practice was set up in Bath and specialized in lightweight structural systems.

According to Buro Happold’s website, Ted Happold passed away on January 12th, 1996. Although a great man has passed from the fields of architecture and engineering, “[h]is inspiration…lives on in the University of Bath and within the various design offices of Buro Happold.”

Sydney Opera House (with Arup)

Pompidou Centre (with Arup)

[Any information, unless otherwise stated, about Ted Happold is taken from Happold: The Confidence to Build by Derek Walker and Bill Addis.]

Written by Anthony M. Garcia

February 1, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Engineers

Buro Happold


Buro Happold

Main Office:
Camden Mill
Lower Bristol Road

Additional Offices:
Abu Dhabi
Hong Kong
Los Angeles
New York
San Francisco

Engineering Specialties:
Structural Engineering
Ground Engineering
Building Services Engineering
Sustainability & Alternative Technologies

Buro Happold was founded by Ted Happold and seven other partners on May 1st, 1976. The original structural engineering practice was set up in Bath and specialized in lightweight structural systems. In that same year, the firm won its first major design project. Kocommas – the Kings Office, Council of Ministers and Majlis Al Shura Central Government complex in Saudia Arabia “involved structural and civil engineering design of the principal buildings, roads and car parks, including some very complex roof and shade structures.”

Soon afterward, Buro Happold designed eight iconic umbrellas for the famous group Pink Floyd. They were made of aluminum and poly cotton fabric and could be manually raised.

The Millennium Dome, designed by Buro Happold in 1999, is “[o]ne of the most recognized – and talked about – landmarks in the UK.” Through involvement of the firm’s structural, geotechnical, infrastructure, environmental and building services engineering departments, Buro Happold “was awarded the prestigious MacRobert Award for its innovative design of the 320m cable net roof – the largest structure of its kind in the world.”

The company grew quickly. Since then, Buro Happold’s scope  has grown immensely, including services ranging from Project Management to  to Contamination and Remediation. In addition, the company has grown immensely and currently has a turnover of more than £50 million.

Selected Projects:


Millennium Experience

Massar Children’s Discovery Centre

Olympic Stadium
Olympic Stadium

Umbrellas (for 1978 Pink Floyd concert tour)

Additional Projects:

Lord’s Media Centre

Palace of Peace and Reconciliation
Palace of Peace and Reconciliation

Queen Elizabeth II Great Court


20 Fenchurch

The Lowry Performing and Visual Arts Centre

Downland Gridshell, Weald and Download Open Air Museum

Post authored by Anthony M. Garcia.

[All information on the firm Buro Happold is from their website, http://www.burohappold.com.

Written by Anthony M. Garcia

January 20, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Posted in Engineers


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