Arup Group

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Arup Group Limited
IndustryDesign, Engineering, Architecture and Business consultation
Founded1 April 1946; 77 years ago (1946-04-01)
Number of locations
94 offices in 34 countries (2023)
Area served
Key people
Alan Belfield (Chair)
Tristram Carfrae (Deputy Chair)
Dervilla Mitchell (Deputy Chair)
ServicesConsultancy services
RevenueIncrease £1.9 billion (2022)[1]
Decrease £50.9 million (2022)[1]
Decrease £18.3 million (2022)[1]
Total assetsIncrease £1558.9 million (2022)[1]
Number of employees
Increase 17,208 (2022)[1]
SubsidiariesOve Arup & Partners International Ltd, Arup Associates Ltd, and others.

Arup (officially Arup Group Limited) is a British multinational professional services firm headquartered in London that provides design, engineering, architecture, planning, and advisory services across every aspect of the built environment. It employs about 17,000 people in over 90 offices across 35 countries,[2] and has participated in projects in over 160 countries.[3][4]

Arup was established in 1946 by Sir Ove Arup as Ove N. Arup Consulting Engineers. Through its involvement in high-profile projects such as the Sydney Opera House, it became well known for undertaking complex and challenging projects.[5] In 1970, Arup stepped down from actively leading the company, setting out the principles which have continued to guide its operation.[5]

Arup's ownership is structured as a trust[6] whose beneficiaries are its employees, past and present, who receive a share of its operating profit each year.[7][8]


Founding the firm[edit]

The company was founded in London in 1946 as Ove N. Arup Consulting Engineers by Sir Ove Arup. Arup had established himself in the 1930s as an expert in reinforced concrete, known for projects such as the Penguin Pool at London Zoo.[9] According to the architectural author Ian Volner, Arup's vision when establishing the company came out of a combination of his wartime experiences and a progressive-minded philosophy broadly aligning with early modernism, was for the organisation to be a force for peace and social betterment in the postwar world.[5] To this end, it would employ professionals of diverse disciplines that could work together to produce projects of greater quality than was achievable by them working in isolation, a concept known as 'Total Design'.[5][10][11]

Early years[edit]

As the company grew, Arup spurned the common practice amongst its rivals of acquiring other companies; instead, it pursued natural growth, opening up new offices at locations where the potential for work had been identified.[5]

During 1963, together with the architect Philip Dowson, a new division of the company, Arup Associates, was formed.[12]

Within 25 years of its establishment, the firm had become well known for its design work for the built environment,[13][14] acquiring a reputation for its competence at undertaking projects that were structurally and/or logistically complex.[5] Arup himself worked on multiple projects during the firm's early years, including the Sydney Opera House, where he was lead engineer, and which author Peter Jones credited with launching Arup into the premier league of engineering consultancies.[15][16] The Opera House was the first application of computer calculations to an engineering project, using the Ferranti Pegasus computer to generate models.[17]

During Arup's lifetime, the company would also work on high-profile projects such as the 'inside-out' Centre Pompidou with Rogers & Piano, and the HSBC headquarters with Norman Foster & Partners.[18][19]

The Key Speech[edit]

1970 was a particularly transformative year for the firm; 24 years after founding the company, Arup opted to retire from actively leading the company. At the time, the firm (then Ove Arup & Partners) was made up of several independent practices spread across the globe, so prior to his departure, Arup delivered his 'Key Speech' on 9 July in Winchester to all his partners from the various practices.[20] The speech set out the aims of the firm and identified the principles of governance by which they might be achieved. These included quality of work, total architecture, humane organisation, straight and honorable dealings, social usefulness, and the reasonable prosperity of its members.[5]

Arup's philosophy work on influential projects was the subject of a dedicated retrospective at the V&A Museum in 2016.[21]


Picture of an office building.
An office building occupied by Arup in the Dublin Docklands.

Arup is an employee-owned business, with all staff owning a stake in the company and part of a global profit share.[22]

By 2013, Arup was operating 90 offices across 60 countries around the world.[5] These offices are elaborately interconnected by shared internet-based collaborative working packages and communication systems that can, where required, enable a single project to be worked on by multiple offices across a seamless, 24-hour working cycle. However, it is more common for individual offices to specialise in working on an assigned subsection of a project rather than continuously exchanging.[5]

The BBC Television and RIBA documentary The Brits who Built the Modern World highlighted Arup's collaboration with architects and described Arup as "the engineering firm which Lord Norman Foster and his peers Lord Richard Rogers, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, Sir Michael Hopkins and Sir Terry Farrell most frequently relied upon."[23]

The firm has published an annual sustainability report since 2008, and is involved in several projects around the world aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions,[24] such as Dongtan Eco-City, which is planned to be zero waste,[25] and the High Speed 2 Interchange Station, which is the first railway station in the world to achieve BREEAM 'outstanding certification.[26]

Arup also runs community engagement programmes comprising initiatives to combat homelessness,[27] improve sanitation in disaster relief programmes,[28] and disaster recovery after earthquakes.[29] They also engage in partnerships with governments, NGOs, think tanks, and other advocacy groups.[30][31]

Notable projects[edit]

Angel of the North
Coventry Cathedral, showing the new building by Arup in the background.


North America[edit]


CCTV Headquarters in Beijing's central business district nearing completion (August 2008).
Marina Bay Sands – Singapore


Sydney Opera House
Kurilpa Bridge, Brisbane


Millennium Bridge in London


Arup had its own sports division, specialising in designing, consulting and structural engineering for sporting facilities such as stadia.[36] Many of Arup's modern stadia are designed with a contemporary, distinctive edge and the company strives to revolutionise stadium architecture and performance.[36] For instance, the Bird's Nest Stadium for the 2008 Olympics was complimented for its striking architectural appearance[37] and the City of Manchester Stadium for the 2002 Commonwealth Games has stairless entry to the upper tiers through circular ramps outside the stadium.[36] The most notable stadium projects led by Arup remain the City of Manchester Stadium (2002), Allianz Arena (2005), Beijing National Stadium (2008), Donbass Arena (2009) and the Singapore Sports Hub (2014).


Awards to group[edit]

The firm is consistently placed amongst top performers in Corporate and Social Responsibility rankings such as the ACCSR.[38]

Arup's multidisciplinary sports venue design and engineering scope on the Singapore Sports Hub won the 2013 World Architecture Festival Award in the Future Projects, Leisure Category.[39]

Casa da Música

The Casa da Música, Oporto, designed by Arup and Office for Metropolitan Architecture was nominated for the 2007 Stirling Prize.[40]

Arup's work with The Druk White Lotus School, Ladakh, won them Large Consultancy Firm of the Year 2003 at the British Consultants and Construction Bureau – International Expertise Awards, 2003 building on their triple win at the 2002 World Architecture Awards.[41]

Arup was awarded the Worldaware Award for Innovation for its Vawtex air system in Harare International School.[42]

Arup won the Gold Medal for Architecture at the National Eisteddfod of Wales of 1998 for their work on the Control Techniques Research and Development HQ, in Newtown, Powys.[43]

Arup Fire has won the Fire Safety Engineering Design award four times since its creation in 2001.[44] The 2001 inaugural award was won for Arup's contribution to the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, the world's largest greenhouse. In 2004, the design for London's City Hall was appointed joint winner. In 2005, the Temple Mills Eurostar Depot won. The 2006 winning entry was for Amethyst House, a nine-storey building with an atrium from the ground to the top, in Manchester, UK.[45]

Arup was Royal Town Planning Institute Consultancy of the year in 2008.[46]

Arup was awarded the 2010 Live Design Excellence Award for Theatre Design for the integrated theatre and acoustic team's design for the new Jerome Robbins Theatre, created for Mikhail Baryshnikov and The Wooster Group.[47]

The Evelyn Grace Academy, London designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and Arup won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2011.[48]

Arup was named Tunnel Design Firm of the Year at the 2012 ITA AITES International Tunnelling Awards.[49]

Arup was awarded Infrastructure Architect of the Year at the 2020 Architect of the Year Awards.[50]

Arup was awarded Britains Most Admired Company 2021 by Management Today[51]

Awards to Arup employees[edit]

Barbara Lane, associate director with Arup, won the Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal in 2008[52] for her outstanding contribution to British engineering on design of structures for fire.


Arup Fellow is a lifelong honorary title awarded to selected honorary individuals in the firm. It acknowledges the highest design and technical achievements of people, not only within the firm, but also in the industry as a whole. They are considered role models who possess world-class expertise who put theory into effective practice.

The current fellows, as of November 2019, are:[53]

  • Davar Abi-Zadeh
  • Michael Beaven
  • Peter Burnton
  • David Caiden
  • Helen Campbell
  • Tristram Carfrae
  • Vincent Cheng
  • Alice Chow
  • Sam Chow
  • Geoffrey Tai
  • Mark Chown
  • Fiona Cousins
  • Jo da Silva OBE
  • Graham Dodd
  • Ian Feltham
  • Mark Fletcher
  • Marianne Foley
  • Ian Gardner
  • Craig Gibbons
  • Peter Gist
  • Mike Glover OBE
  • Richard Greer
  • Alistair Guthrie
  • Goman Ho
  • Richard Hornby
  • Jon Hurt
  • Naeem Hussain
  • Paul Johnson
  • Peter Johnson
  • Florence Lam
  • Barbara Lane
  • Wilfred Lau
  • Chris Luebkeman
  • Erin McConahey
  • Rory McGowan
  • Alisdair McGregor
  • Tateo Nakajima
  • Duncan Nicholson
  • Nick O'Riordan
  • Raj Patel
  • Mahadev Raman
  • Rudi Scheuermann
  • Andy Sedgwick
  • Brian Simpson OBE
  • Paul Sloman
  • Malcolm Smith
  • Richard Sturt
  • Tim Suen
  • Corinne Swain OBE (d. 2020)[54]
  • Tony Vidago
  • Regine Weston
  • Michael Willford
  • Atila Zekioglu

Notable alumni and current staff[edit]

Related companies[edit]

Companies under Arup Group

  • Oasys Ltd, established in 1976 as the software house of Arup, providing engineering software for structural, geotechnical and pedestrian movement simulation/analysis software.
  • Neuron Digital Group, established in 2022 with Venturous Group, providing digital solutions for building assets.

Several staff have left to form other companies, often with significant parallels with Arup.


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External links[edit]