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“In 1946, philosopher and engineer Ove Arup set up his consulting engineering business in London. In the more than 60 years that have followed, the business has grown into an international consulting firm of unparalleled scope, owned in trust for its employees and using the business principles that Ove Arup first set out – and which he articulated for posterity in 1970 in his forward-looking ‘key speech’.
Right from the start, Arup was known for its close and exceptionally productive collaborations with leading and avant-garde architects. In its first two decades, the firm expanded rapidly, and earned a formidable reputation for devising advanced and economical solutions for buildings – a reputation it still enjoys today.
By 1976, Arup’s reputation had become truly global with the completion of the Sydney Opera House. By this time, the firm had opened offices in Northern Europe, Southern Africa, South East Asia and Australia. Its breadth of expertise was already considerable: this ranged fromoffshore engineering, acoustics, facades, and specialist skills such as impact, blast, risk and seismic engineering, to relatively-niche areas such as designing transportation containers for nuclear waste.
The firm’s portfolio today is broad and wide-ranging. Many of the world’s most iconic sports stadia are Arup projects – such as Beijing’s Water Cube, the Singapore Sport’s Hub and London Aquatics Centre.
Arup’s work goes beyond buildings and infrastructure, however. We collaborated with car manufacturers on the design of the SuperLight car, which uses considerably less energy than the petrol equivalent. Through our Operational Readiness, Activation and Transition (ORAT) service we help clients and other stakeholders plan for the seamless opening and operation of major facilities like airports and hospitals or for major events. Arup has also developed a range of proprietary computer modelling tools which it sells around the world, as well as innovations such as our SoundLab, an aural-realisation tool with which clients can hear subjectively how different design options perform acoustically – before they are actually built.
Arup now has over 91 offices across Europe, North America, Africa, Australasia and South East Asia. We employ more than 11,000 people globally. Our revenue in the year ending March 2014 exceeded £1bn.” (Source)
National Aquatic Center (Water Cube)
Updated Feb. 2015 by Holly Ashford and Kelley Grabner
Spotlight: Erin McConahey
Erin McConahey began her structural career with degrees in both mechanical and structural engineering. Erin’s extensive technical knowledge of innovative and energy saving solutions combined with a strong commitment to the complete design cycle approach. She’s involved from the very beginning of the concept design all the way to the construction sequence of a project. Her passion and understanding has helped aid in the success of many Arup projects including museums, high-rises, laboratories, and school. (1)
Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
(1) Larson, Matt. Architectural Engineering World, University of Texas at Austin
Spotlight: Ove Arup (1895-1988)
Born in Newcastle, U.k., Sir Ove Nyquist Arup began his education in philosophy and mathematics at Copenhagen University. He later went on to receive an engineering degree at the Technical University of denmark. Once graduated in 1922 he began working as a structural engineer for Christiani and Nielsen, a danish civil engineering firm, and moved to London.(1)
In the early 1930’s, he worked as a consultant to the Tectron partnership where he worked with senior partner Berthold Lubetkin.
During this time, Ove Arup applied structural concrete ideas that had never been done before in residential housing. After the war in 1946, he founded his now highly successful company, Arup. (1) Sir Ove Arup’s aspiration for ‘Total Architecture’ was that great things can result when “all relevant design decisions have been considered together and have been integrated into a whole by a well organised team”. (2)
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
(1) Siegfried, Ryan. Architecture Engineers of the 20th and 21st Century, University of Texas at Austin