Phase 2

Phase 2 is a public programme of exhibitions and events that explores the intersection between art, design and engineering. Founded in 2008, the programme supports new collaborations across these disciplines as well as showcasing stories from Arup’s cultural heritage. Phase 2 also presents artists whose work provides fresh perspectives on the built environment. 

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Kisa Kawakami, Arc IV, 1986, © the artist

Works from the Arup Collection

The Arup Collection has its origins in the earliest years of the firm. This exhibition shows a selection of works in different media as well as furniture from Arup’s first offices. Ove Arup had a keen interest in the arts. In 1948, he became a member of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and retained an enthusiasm for collecting throughout his life which was shared by the firm’s founding partners.  The Collection includes works by artists who pushed the boundaries of their medium in the post-war period, as can be seen in the prints and drawings of R B Kitaj and John Piper whom Arup worked with on Coventry Cathedral. 

From the mid-1980s to the late 1990s the firm acquired works by upcoming artists, including Simon Wells and Chad McCail. In the same period, more established artists like Jacqueline Morreau, Deanna Petherbridge, Victor Newsome and Kenneth Martin contributed important additions to the Collection.

Ben Johnson’s Structural Trees, Stansted (1990) and Jim Dine’s Lloyds Building (1986) both relate to Arup projects. Architectural photography by Henk Snoek, Harry Sowden, Bernard Vincent and Richard Bryant also captured some of the most renowned buildings of Arup’s history: the Sydney Opera House, Centre Pompidou and the Menil Collection.  
As a trust-owned firm, the Collection is an important part of the shared heritage of Arup’s members worldwide and provides a precious link to Arup’s cultural history.

Past exhibitions

Wayne Binitie: Ice Floor

Wayne Binitie: Ice Floor

25 November 2019 – 14 February 2020

Arup presents Ice Floor, a new Phase 2 commission about climate change that has been developed by UK born artist Wayne Binitie in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey, a world leading centre for polar science. Since 1979 summer sea-ice extent in the Arctic has reduced at 10% per decade. Some major glaciers that drain the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets have accelerated by as much as 50%, adding to sea level rise.

The installation explores the vulnerability of these regions to global warming and how they are subject to conditions like ‘calving’ (large chunks of ice breaking away at random moments).

Deep ice cores from the polar regions have revealed more about the link between climate change and the atmosphere than any other scientific technique. In a cold room, specially created for the exhibition,slices taken from Antarctic ice cores appear to float on a solid ice floor.

Over time, the temperature of the environment around Ice Floor will increase affecting its solidity and draw our attention to its fragility. The lighting alludes to the beauty of the pristine polar regions while the sound above and beneath the floor uses audio recordings made by Binitie of air bubbles trapped in ancient ice cores, an environment in danger from climate warming.

The exhibition has been made possible through collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey and the kind support of ISOVER.

Drivers of Change: New forms of practice from The Bartlett School of Architecture

15 July – 13 September 2019

This exhibition showcases cutting-edge research from three pioneering master’s programmes at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL: Design for Manufacture, Bio-Integrated Design and Design for Performance and Interaction.

At a time of climate crisis, the interdisciplinarity of the master’s programmes, for example, applied biology and architecture, encourages students to develop radical new alternatives for tackling the different complex environmental challenges faced by contemporary urban society.

The exhibition also marks the launch of the latest edition of Drivers of Change, a publication developed by Arup’s Foresight team to raise awareness about global issues affecting the future of the built environment, such as depleting natural resources and the need to improve urban food systems. The exciting new forms of practice from The Bartlett propose groundbreaking ways of addressing these issues: they are a taste of things to come.

Airbloom, felt acoustic panel, 2017 (detail) Stefan Borselius for Abstracta


8 November 2018 – 1 March 2019

The rapid development of digital technologies has led to emerging design initiatives that challenge established fabrication techniques. A selection of works that demonstrate the impact of digital technology on design have been brought together in this exhibition, ranging from the fields of architecture and engineering to interior design, fashion and art.

The exhibition showcases relatively early examples of generative design and bubble matrix geometries from 2008, used both for design of the Beijing National Aquatics Center and artist Antony Gormley’s Dublin Project Model 2. Lana Dumitru and Vlad Tenu’s Swarovski crystal dress foræva (2017) and Nervous System’s running shoes with 3D printed midsoles (2015) demonstrate processes usually associated with engineering.

Explore selected past exhibitions

  1. 2008
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  4. 2009
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  7. 2010
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  9. 2011
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  12. 2012
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  14. 2013
  15. 2014
  16. 2015
  17. 2016
  18. 2018
  19. 2018
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