An exhibition celebrates Arup Associates' work from 1963 to 2013. The event looks at many of the common threads that have continued to be present in the practice’s design approach from its founding days to current times. Over the years, Arup Associates has been at the forefront of a diverse range of technically highly innovative buildings. These include the introduction of a tartan grid for intensive servicing requirements at the Mining and Metallurgy Building in Birmingham, a new office park typology at Stockley Park on the outskirts of London and, at Broadgate, a revival of the public realm within context of City of London office buildings.
Arup Associates’ landscaped terraces and low-energy servicing strategies at Ropemaker are more topical examples of how the practice has helped advance office building design in The City of London. The practice has also contributed significantly in new thinking on low-carbon sports venue design particularly in their Showcase project for the Qatar FIFA World Cup Stadium. Similarly, Arup Associates is leading the way creating the world’s most energyefficient datacenters.
The practice’s first completed project in this sector was designed for Citi in Frankfurt and received a LEED Platinum certification. In fact, the practice had an exceptionally early interest in energy conservation that led to pioneering solutions in environmental design well before this was mainstream practice. A critical period for Arup Associates in making great leaps forward in building performance and efficiency was in the 1970s during the energy crisis and three-dayweek.
At the very core of the practice’s work remains Ove Arup’s belief in a humane architecture. An architecture that is experimental, pushing the boundaries of what has been done before, but always with a singular objective of how technology can be applied to improve the human condition. This holds true even for the more industrial buildings; a sector Arup Associates led the way in already in 1971 with the design of the seminal Horizon Factory for John Player & Sons in Nottingham.
In addition to models, drawings, photographs, the exhibition includes a film by Tapio Snellman that captures the ideas that have inspired the practitioners who have worked at Arup Associates between 1963-2013. Some of these individuals have become highly regarded individuals within the profession after their time at Arup Associates: Peter Foggo; Max Fordham; Tony Fretton; Rab Bennetts; Adam Caruso.
As a compendium to the exhibition, Arup Associates has published a 496 page catalogue with a historic overview by Ken Powell. It provides an important record of how the founders of the practice - established Arup Associates as a leading exponent of multidisciplinary design. The catalogue also brings the work of the practice up-to-date showing how the principles of “unified design” have adapted to design challenges around the world.
All images © Arup Associates