Sir Ove Arup honoured with new bust

03 Oct 2011

A bust of engineer Sir Ove Arup was unveiled at the site of his favourite work in Durham City last week.

Sir Ove considered the Grade I listed Kingsgate Bridge, which connects New Elvet with the Peninsula in Durham, to be his finest achievement despite also overseeing world famous projects such as the Sydney Opera House, the Barbican Centre and London Zoo’s Penguin Pool.

An original bronze bust of Sir Ove, who was also involved in the construction of Durham University’s award-winning Dunelm House, was stolen in 2006. Now Durham University and the The City of Durham Trust have paid for a new sculpture which will stand at the entrance to Kingsgate Bridge, next to Dunelm House.

The new bust is cast in resin and is based on the original 1987 sculpture by Diana Brandenburger. Professor Chris Higgins, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, and Douglas Pocock, Honorary Secretary of The City of Durham Trust, were joined by friends and former business colleagues of Sir Ove in unveiling the bust on Tuesday 27 September.

Professor Chris Higgins said:

“Sir Ove Arup is responsible for helping to create some of the world’s most distinctive and memorable buildings so it is highly significant that he held the design of the Kingsgate Bridge as an example of his finest work. Kingsgate Bridge and Dunelm House are two of the finest examples of 20th Century architecture in the City and it is fitting that Sir Ove’s creativity should be honoured with this new bust.”

ARUP Director, Jim Burridge, said:

“Sir Ove Arup espoused engineering excellence and this remains a key component of our work today, here in the UK and across the globe. It is fitting that we not only remember but celebrate his influence, innovative approach and his outstanding contribution to design as we continue to espouse those same values around the world.”

Sir Ove Arup was born in Newcastle in 1895, the son of a Danish consul, and died in 1988 at the age of 93. He was the founder of one of the world’s largest civil engineering consulting practices, Ove Arup & Partners, and is responsible for helping to create some of the world’s most distinctive and memorable buildings.

Kingsgate Bridge was completed in 1963 and Dunelm House, which was designed in partnership with Architects Co-Partnership (ACP), was finished two years later in 1965. Dunelm House is home to Durham Students’ Union.


  • Bust of Sir Ove Arup, © Durham University.Open gallery

    Sir Ove Arup has been honoured with a bust at Durham University.