Nottingham Engineering and Science Library ; Nottingham Engineering and Science Library ;


Arup shapes the future of education, its facilities and operations – from primary education to universities, from libraries to research labs.

Arup shapes the future of education, its facilities and operations – from primary education to universities, from libraries to research labs.

Places for lives of learning

Education estates face varied challenges. 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 expectations of learning environments. Clients need to work with a partner whose understanding spans every aspect of educational property.

Druk White Lotus School Druk White Lotus School

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 designing flexible spaces that can adapt 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 specific 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.

High performance spaces

Educators need high performance facilities that are cost-effective to build, run and maintain. It is also important that buildings are engaging, pleasant environments, equipped with quality systems, helping institutions to attract and retain students and staff.

We have forged a close working relationship with Princeton University in the US, for instance, working on a series 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 meeting stringent energy-saving goals.

Trumpington School Cambridge Trumpington School Cambridge

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.