Arup celebrates the 30th anniversary of its New York office

Nicholls Nigel Nigel Nicholls Principal,New York
31 October 2019

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Arup’s New York office. Over the past three decades, the world has been dramatically reshaped by a confluence of forces, including climate change, hyper-urbanization and the digital revolution. As always, New York City has been at the vanguard of social change. As a coastal city, we have experienced the alarming effects of a warming climate first-hand, most notably with Hurricane Sandy; and as an international hub of culture and commerce, we have faced the challenges of global urbanization head on. At the same time, New Yorkers have experienced the life-changing power of dazzling new technologies, harnessed the insights of big data to drive progress, and partnered with other major cities around the world in the fight against climate change.

Like all tried-and-true New Yorkers, we, at Arup, love our city and we take great pride in knowing that many of the projects we’ve done in our time here have contributed to making it more sustainable, more resilient and more connected. We will continue to do all we can to ensure that New York’s future is as vibrant as its past. This means delivering projects that bring value to our clients and communities and help advance the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals


Whitney Museum Whitney Museum

Arup New York—From 1989 to now

Since 1989, Arup has participated in the restoration and development of many of New York City’s defining cultural institutions—from the American Museum of Natural History to the Whitney Museum of American Art to the New York Botanical Garden. 

Whitney Museum of American Art

Honoring New York’s past and designing for a better future

Our integrated approach to design and emphasis on innovation has contributed to the success of notable projects, such as the redevelopment of Lincoln Center’s Juilliard School and Alice Tully Hall. Arup provided a suite of engineering design services for this major civic project, along with more specialized services. For instance, an acoustics team led by Principal Raj Patel, leveraged Arup’s pioneering SoundLab technology to assess and modify the design for Alice Tully Hall. We are honored to be participating in a variety of projects aimed at preserving New York’s rich cultural legacy and preparing our institutions to meet the needs of a new generation of visitors.

Lincoln Center

Arup has also had the chance to work on a variety of innovative projects for New York’s most renowned educational institutions. To enable Columbia University’s 14-level Northwest Corner Building to “hover” above an existing gymnasium, our structural engineers designed an expressive mega-truss system to shoulder the 180,000ft2, science building’s weight—an innovative structural approach to accommodating density. Arup’s building systems engineers also collaborated on the development of sustainable solutions to help the Northwest Corner Building achieve LEED-Gold certification.

Cornell Tech exterior view Cornell Tech exterior view
The Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center at Cornell Tech

At Arup, we are always seeking new ways to bring benefit to our clients and the communities we work in. This on-going commitment to research and innovation has made us early adopters of many emerging tools, technologies and best practices that go on to become industry-wide standards. One example is our work on groundbreaking net zero buildings. The Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center, the first building at Cornell Tech, Cornell University’s new Roosevelt Island campus, sought to push the performance limits of large-scale campus buildings significantly, aspiring to get closer to net zero, and achieved LEED Platinum along the way. High-performance projects like this one are charting a sustainable course to help New York drastically cut the emissions associated with the buildings sector, the city’s biggest source of green house gases.


Second Avenue Subway Second Avenue Subway

Transportation for the 21st century

The modernization and expansion of New York’s transportation network is critical to our ability to fight climate change, manage densification and build long-term resilience. Arup is honored to have participated in some of the city’s most ambitious transportation infrastructure projects

We partnered with AECOM to provide full engineering and architectural services for Phase 1 of the Second Avenue Subway —the first major expansion of the New York City subway system in nearly a century; and provided multidisciplinary design services on Fulton Center, a project that breathed new life into Lower Manhattan following 9/11. 

The oculus' dramatic cable net contains reflective panels which will bounce natural light down to the lowest level of the atrium. The oculus' dramatic cable net contains reflective panels which will bounce natural light down to the lowest level of the atrium.
Fulton Center

We are currently working on the MTA Enhanced Station Initiative (ESI), a program to refurbish and upgrade 22 New York City Subway stations, some dating back more than a century. Arup was selected as the ESI Program Facilitator, working hand-in-hand with the client from a single, dedicated project-office. We developed bridging and bid documents, and oversaw and performed the preliminary architectural and engineering design, scheduling, cost, construction packaging, and all of the program work procurement, including request for qualifications to pre-qualify five design-build teams and issuing request for proposals. Arup also oversaw the final design and coordination process for the client and performed design services during design and construction. We designed a digital dashboard that united a wide array of project resources to a single source of information, making all critical data easily accessible to the entire project team. 

Arup’s Integrated Planning Team is also partnering with the New York City Department of Transportation to improve the public realm and make the City more pedestrian-friendly. We were involved in the planning and design of the new Willoughby Shared Street, Brooklyn’s first full-time, pedestrian-friendly street, and are collaborating on the planning of several other shared streets in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. Principal Margaret Newman has played a key role on these projects. To learn more about Margaret’s design philosophy and work, read her design profile.

East River Waterfront Esplanade and Piers Project, New York, Ari Burling Photography East River Waterfront Esplanade and Piers Project, New York, Ari Burling Photography

Regenerating for resilience

Arup is honored to have contributed to the revitalization of New York’s long-neglected waterfront, thereby boosting our city’s resilience to climate change. Our waterfront projects executed over the past 18 years include the Hudson River Park—the largest open space project constructed in Manhattan since Central Park, the East River Waterfront Esplanade, and Hunter’s Point South partnering with New York City Economic Development Corporation in Long Island City, Queens. 

These wildly popular urban green spaces have reconnected New Yorkers to the city’s once-dormant shoreline, beautified the landscape, and enhanced health and well-being. Crucially, these parks have also helped alleviate New York’s vulnerability to climate-related weather events—a goal Arup is continuing to advance in New York City, as is also exemplified through our green infrastructure work with the NYC Economic Development Corporation and NYC Department of Environmental Protection. 

Hunter's Point South park with New York City Hunter's Point South park with New York City
Hunter's Point South

The reinvention of New York’s waterfront continues with two architecturally-inventive projects designed by Thomas Heatherwick in collaboration with Arup. For Heatherwick’s escheresque Vessel at Hudson Yards, we developed a detailed technical program aligned with the architect’s singular vision, using MassMotion 3-D pedestrian modelling to ensure safe egress. Heatherwick’s encore New York project, Pier 55, is a whimsical “floating” park and performance venue in the meatpacking district that sits atop a complex array of 132 bespoke precast concrete “pots”, which were designed by Arup using advanced parametric modeling to support digital prefabrication.

JetBlue terminal at John F Kennedy International Airport JetBlue terminal at John F Kennedy International Airport

A new Golden Age in aviation

With advancements in technology spurring big changes in airline operations and terminal design, we are entering what some consider a new Golden Age of Aviation and New York is at the forefront of it. Over the past decade, Arup has partnered with Jetblue and Delta Airlines to revolutionize operations at JFK.

We worked with New York’s hometown airline Jetblue on Terminal 5 and 5i, helping them achieve a new gold standard of efficiency and service for a passenger-focused experience. Our aviation experts used customer flow and behavioral models to streamline operations while at the same time reducing the volume of the 26-gate terminal, thereby saving materials, cutting maintenance costs and boosting energy efficiency. 

JetBlue terminal at JFK airport new york JetBlue terminal at JFK airport new york

With the recent unveiling of the TWA Flight Center Hotel, JFK has resurrected an icon of the original jet age and secured its position as a leading global airport in the years to come. Arup worked with Beyer Blinder Belle and developer MCR on the restoration of Eero Saarinen’s masterpiece and provided structural engineering solutions that seamlessly link the original structure to the newly-constructed hotel wings.

Our aviation team is currently teaming with Delta again on a major redevelopment of their facilities at LaGuardia Airport—a project that will feature an experience design developed by Associate Principal Gideon D’Arcangelo. Gideon is heading up the expansion of Arup’s Experience Design practice. You can learn more about his New York lineage and the formative experiences that led him to become an experience design pioneer in his profile

Arup now works with all the major New York area airports including JFK, La Guardia and Newark.