Arup Associates

Arup Associates
   Born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1895, Ove Arup studied philosophy, mathematics and then civil engineering. Director and chief engineer of the English engineering firm J.L.Kier and Company, from 1934 to 1938, he then founded the engineering and consulting firm Arup and Arup with his cousin. In 1946 he opened an independent engineering office, which operated from 1949 under the name Ove Arup and Partners. Finally, in 1963 the interdisciplinary and now internationally famous planning firm Arup Associates was launched. In 1933 Arup was one of the founding members of the MARS group (Modern Architectural Research Group), indicating his early commitment to modern architecture. Acting as a consultant to the Russian architect Berthold Lubetkin and his Tecton Group, he was involved with High Point I flats (1933–5), the Finsbury Health Centre (1935– 8) and the innovative buildings at London Zoo. Lubetkin and Arup were concerned to promote investigations into the employment of new materials and to establish an authentic technical base for modern architecture in Britain. Examples of their postwar engineering work include the school at Hunstanton, Norfolk (1949, 1952–4) by Alison and Peter Smithson, the Sydney Opera House (1956– 74) by Utzon, the John Player Horizon factory at Nottingham (1968) with its integrated servicing and planning system, the multi-functional Bundesgar-tenschau Hall, Mannheim (1973–4), as well as the controversial structure for the Centre Pompidou in Paris (1971–7) by Piano and Rogers. Arup Associates have been involved in a number of university buildings; at Corpus Christi, Cambridge (1963), their precast concrete structure enhances the appearance of the architecture, while at Loughborough University of Technology (1967), their development of a regular planning module has allowed for considerable flexibility.
   The dramatic footbridge linking the steep banks of the river Wear in Durham (1963), connecting the older precinct and the newer university development, Dunelm House (1964) is an example of Arup’s personal design work. The height of the bridge exploits the dynamic of the diagonal slender struts. Recent work includes the overall planning of Stockley Park, (1984), a new breed of business park where the firm has contributed twelve flexible units, including the award winning headquarters for Haspro; and the design for Broadgate Square, with its ice rink in the heart of a tiered amphitheatre housing restaurants, bars and shops as part of Broadgate, London (1985–91).
   Further reading
    Brawne, M. (1985) Arup Associates, London: Hacker Art Books.
   HILARY GRAINGER

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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