By understanding purpose, performance and future use, we bring enduring value to educational environments. 

Education’s challenges are always evolving. In many parts of the world, access to primary education is still hampered by poor facilities. Elsewhere, shifts in funding models, advances in technology and new teaching approaches are transforming the criteria for quality in learning environments.

Individual responses

Arup works closely with educators, funders, architects and developers to produce buildings and technical solutions that meet their specific needs in primary, secondary and higher education.

Our clients’ requirements range from energy strategies that conserve scarce resources to flexible spaces that can be adapted to future needs. Arup’s wealth of international experience – commercial, creative and technical – allows us to respond to even the most specialised of challenges.

We can realise precise solutions for laboratories, medicine and science facilities, or contemporary approaches to campus libraries and galleries. We have crafted acoustically intimate spaces for a school for young performers in Singapore as well as an earthquake-resistant design for a girls school in Afghanistan.

Beyond the technical and creative, designing for education demands an appreciation of economic and social context. For example, our prototype for Malawi schools had to be robust, very cheap and easy to build to cope with limited budgets, materials and skills.

Facilities that perform

Performance is multi-faceted. In education, it is essential that facilities are cost-effective to build, run and maintain. It is also important that buildings are engaging, pleasant environments, equipped with quality systems, that help institutions attract and retain students and staff.

Our spirit of collaboration with clients helps us to understand the true focus of performance in each project. We have forged a close working relationship with Princeton University in the US, for instance, over a string of projects with exacting performance requirements, including the Frick Chemistry Laboratory.

Here, Arup’s sophisticated use of 3D modelling helped meet a high bar in laboratory performance – including minimal vibration and specialised fume exhaust systems – while also attaining stringent energy-saving goals.

Looking forward

Arup helps education clients develop far-sighted responses to emerging challenges – from tackling increased competition for revenue streams to planning IT and communications infrastructure for virtual classrooms.

Our De Montfort University carbon footprinting study, for instance, responded to new requirements from the university’s UK government funder to measure ‘Scope 3’ carbon emissions. To help existing campuses evolve with educational trends and continue to function at their best, we bring expertise in planning, building design, building performance and retrofitting.

Creating legacy assets for the future of education is also key. That was a strong focus for Arup’s project managers as they helped their government client guide a major school building programme, which had been set up with the immediate aim of stimulating construction employment, in the Australian state of Victoria.



Open lobby area with view to laboratory behind through transparent walls. Credit Warren Jagger Photography.Princeton University Frick Chemistry Laboratory

A model of energy-efficient research space.