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Future-focused

The future of Total Design


Design means always looking ahead. It’s a chance to bring new thinking to existing problems. Arup’s latest Design Book, Total Design over time, shows how design and engineering is rethinking and reshaping the world around us, from housing to energy management to the planning of entire cities.

Shaping the future

Innovation takes many forms. Sometimes it’s a process, sometimes it’s a technology. What unites them is a commitment to improvement and a reflection on what’s gone before. Watch the video below to discover how initiatives at Arup are bringing new ideas to every part of our world.

The power of visualisation

Digital technology continues to transform the way design and engineering are carried out. Arup’s visualisation lab has developed cutting-edge tools allowing clients, decision-makers and the public to experience projects in virtual worlds. By bringing complex national infrastructure projects like High Speed 2 to life in this way, we can collaborate more broadly, and explore the impact of decisions well before they’re made.

Digital concepts are disrupting engineering and design in other ways too. WikiHouse is a house building concept where the plans and process are shared freely with anyone who wants to build one, an idea adapted from the ‘open-source’ software movement. WikiHouse allows designers to freely contribute, adapt and customise home designs, sharing their work with others via the web. Arup has helped develop this project, which creates a socially valuable alternative to traditional residential housing development.

Transforming technologies

The world’s existing buildings account for up to 45% of a city’s carbon emissions. But what if a building could power itself? To answer that question, Arup has worked with technology partners to develop the SolafLeaf algae façade, a biological and renewable energy source that both clads and powers a building.

Improving cities

Working in a larger-scale context, Arup has partnered with the C40 – leaders from a growing community of the world’s biggest cities who are committed to responding to climate change, representing a global population of 297 million people. We’re supporting policy makers to understand the nature of the threat, helping them to identify areas for potential change, adaptation and transformation.

And in our wide experience of masterplanning Arup is able to take on the highly interconnected challenge of cities’ next chapters, readying them for an increasingly resource-constrained and highly urbanised way of life. In Tshwane, South Africa this expertise has created a strategic regeneration masterplan for a 10km2 sized area of the city’s centre. In China, it’s at the heart of how Arup has been able to plan a highly sustainable city. In these endeavours Total Design allows a level of collaboration that integrates utilities, transport, business and leisure in ways that represent a sustainable future.

Want to know more?

From the rise of mega-cities to the evolving issues of climate change and city resilience, you can read more about how Total Design keeps us future-focused in Total Design over time by downloading or ordering a copy.