Danish Architecture Center to host V&A’s retrospective about Ove Arup

Zaida España Zaida España Europe Press Office
10 October 2018

Arup welcomes the retrospective exhibition of its founder in Copenhagen, "Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design", a celebration of the pioneering work and ongoing legacy of the iconic Anglo-Danish engineer and designer.


The landmark exhibition, first shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in 2016, provides an overview of Ove Arup’s vision of ‘Total Design’, a holistic approach to design challenges through cutting-edge engineering that has transformed our world. The exhibition reveals Arup’s collaborative approach to problem-solving in the built environment by harnessing the creativity and technical prowess of engineers, architects, urban planners, designers, consultants and technical specialists.

Opening on October 12th and featuring over 150 prototypes, models, drawings, films, photographs and other archival material, the show builds a 360° portrait of Ove Arup, the philosopher-engineer behind iconic projects such as the Sydney Opera House, the Pompidou Centre and the London Zoo’s Penguin Pool. 

The exhibition is a showcase of Arup’s unique approach to design problem-solving and engineering. It is also a tribute to our company’s visionary founder Ove Arup, whose life and education were linked to both England and Denmark. Our Copenhagen office has been proudly continuing this work since 2012, partnering locally to deliver ground-breaking projects that help shape a better world.  ” Sandra Alkmansoy Sandra Akmansoy Denmark Group Leader

Also on display will be digital exhibits featuring simulations and augmented reality which capture some of the most innovative infrastructure projects that Arup has contributed to in recent times. They include a specially commissioned immersive installation about the Øresund Bridge and a recreated Arup SoundLab® presenting a range of acoustic studies, including of the BLOX building and Copenhagen city. 

A simulation of the breakthrough building envelope SolarLeaf, the world’s first bio-reactive façade, explores the use of microalgae to generate renewable energy. Presented in the show for the first time are films and models highlighting Arup’s use of progressive digital design to help complete the remaining towers of Antoni Gaudí’s awe-inspiring Barcelona masterpiece La Sagrada Familia

I'm delighted that the V&A’s exhibition about Ove Arup, the first major museum retrospective about the philosopher-engineer, is coming to Copenhagen – a fitting homecoming for the Anglo-Danish engineer. Ove trained as an engineer in Copenhagen, and emigrated to the UK in 1923 – where he made London his home and established his firm. The story of his ideas and influential work will now be brought to new audiences as part of a dedicated programme season at the Danish Architecture Center. The exhibition champions the vital, creative role played by engineers and it is great to see the legacy of the V&A project continue at the new Danish Architecture Center in BLOX – where learning and debate about the built environment thrives. ” Zofia Trafas White V&A exhibition curator

Arup is the creative force at the heart of many of the world’s most prominent projects in the built environment and across industry. Working in over 140 countries, Arup has more than 14,000 planners, designers, engineers and consultants delivering innovative projects across the world with creativity and passion. Arup has had a presence in Copenhagen since 2012 which has grown to include more than 70 staff, and where we have partnered to deliver ground-breaking projects including the Øresund Bridge, FehmarnBelt Fixed Link, the Cityringen Metro as well as Copenhagen’s Royal Arena.