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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.


    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

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.

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National Assembley for Wales - Interior

Project: National Assembly for Wales

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

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