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Building design

Helping to design ambitious buildings is what Arup is best known for worldwide.


Arup unites a global network of inventive and highly skilled building engineers and design specialists. Together, we are best known for helping to shape ambitious buildings.

But while our most recognisable work is in complex, groundbreaking structures, many of which Arup’s input made possible, it is better building performance that drives us.

With world-class expertise – creative and technical – we help to realise buildings that are better because they are more useful and attractive to the people who own and inhabit them, more sympathetic to their context and more commercially sustainable.

Responsive spaces

What defines a building’s performance will depend on its purpose. Listening to the things that make an asset valuable to our clients, and to their buildings’ users, gives direction to our designs.

Efficiency is a key concern. In response, our structural engineers and integrated design teams conserve materials in construction. And to create buildings that operate on lighter costs and fewer resources, we pursue excellence in high-performance façades and mechanical, electricalwater and waste systems.

We help occupants connect, communicate and collaborate by embedding technology in buildings, and we help keep them safe with advanced approaches to security, fire, seismicwind and lift systems design.

People also want buildings that inspire and delight. Inside buildings and out, our designers realise stunning effects and playful forms. Above all, they bring each element together – from form to acousticslighting and landscape – for buildings that work in harmony with their surroundings and their occupiers.

Precise performance, lasting value

Behind the better performance of our building designs, lies Arup’s sophisticated approach to building information modellingbuilding physics and fluid dynamics. Our building designers engage with advanced analysis and research, but always with focused outcomes in mind.

Throughout a building’s life, our facilities management and operations consultants make sure that it continues to work at its best. To poor-performing assets, our building retrofit specialists bring renewal.

Flexible delivery

Arup’s design teams can work together to deliver seamless sustainable building design, lead complex multidisciplinary projects or develop living and working spaces for whole communities.

We can deliver integrated architecture and engineering, or focus any of our specialists on perfecting a single building detail.

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Global contact

  • Tristram Carfrae

    Tristram Carfrae

    Global Buildings Practice Chair

    Your best solution to date?

    Water Cube – National Aquatic Centre, Beijing, China.

    Why is it significant?

    It was generated as much by engineering intent as for its outstanding beauty. It heats itself, lights itself, sounds fantastic and looks brilliant. The structure is based on the optimal way of subdividing space and, when clad with ETFE pillows, we get, quite literally, a box of bubbles.

    Your particular skill?

    Integrating design teams and stimulating them to produce better solutions.

    Enthusiasm?

    Conceiving structural systems that are highly efficient and unusual.

    Why Arup?

    My mother, an architect, told me that Arup cared about architecture.

    Honours and awards

    Royal Designer for Industry (RDI), Milne Medal Holder, one of 100 most influential engineers in Australia, Australian Professional Engineer of the Year 2001.

  • Global Buildings Practice Chair
  • Atila Zekioglu

    Atila Zekioglu

    Your best solution to date?

    Leading the seismic design for the Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Istanbul, which became the largest base-isolated building in the world when completed in 2009.

    Why is it significant?

    Using expert management, seamless coordination and the power of integrated teamwork, Arup shattered industry standards to redefine what is possible. Designed and constructed in just 18 months, Arup’s global engineering team helped transform vacant land into the most technologically superior structure of its size in the world.

    Your particular skill?

    Leading multidisciplinary teams to provide integrated building engineering ideas, cost-effective structural concepts, and pioneering innovative seismic solutions for our clients.

    Enthusiasm?

    Proving the impossible can be possible.

    Why Arup?

    Our company culture provides the environment for multidisciplinary thinking, encouraging creativity and the exploration of multiple solutions for our clients.

    Anything else?

    Throughout my 30-year career I have focused on solving complex technical challenges. This is demonstrated through my body of work, which includes the Seattle Public Library, Denver Art Museum addition, San Francisco Federal Building and the Caltech Broad Center for Biological Sciences, among many others. Passionate about performance-based design, I am a highly regarded global seismic expert who has led the seismic design of several base-isolated projects, including the Taipei Performing Arts Center and the 1.7 million square foot Airport Terminal at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen International Airport. I am currently working on the Loma Linda University Medical Center, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center – the permanent home for Space Shuttle Endeavour.

  • t: +1 310 578 4400
  • e: building-design@arup.com
  • Los Angeles [15:24]
  • Peter Bowtell

    Peter Bowtell

    Your best solution to date?

    I think that it was the entrance canopy to the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, although there are many other ideas that I think have made a real contribution to the development of our practice.

    Why is it significant?

    To solve the structural geometry we resorted to advanced 3D modelling and studies. In 1995 this was ground breaking work that we have continued to build on ever since. It was the foundation for our work in what the industry now knows as BIM and has meant we have stayed at the forefront of these innovations.

    Your particular skill?

    Structural engineering is at the heart of what I do, but these days I realise that my great strength is in bringing teams together to deliver amazing outcomes for our clients.

    Enthusiasm?

    Absolutely - but particularly for digital technologies and innovation. I really believe that we can substantially improve industry productivity through embracing the changes upon us.

    Why Arup?

    For the design culture, the environment that it creates and the people it attracts.

    Anything else?

    A love of good architecture and urban spaces.

  • t: +61 (0) 3 9668 5500
  • e: building-design@arup.com
  • Melbourne [10:24]

Explore our work


China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarters.

Project: China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarters

CCTV boasts a highly unusual 'three-dimensional cranked loop' shape.

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Exterior walkway and living roof. Credit Tim Griffith.

Project: California Academy of Sciences

The new California Academy of Sciences is the most sustainable museum in the world.

Read more

National Assembley for Wales - Interior

Project: National Assembly for Wales

The National Assembly for Wales building embraces the desire for open and transparent government.

Read more

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