Phase 2

Phase 2 is Arup’s cultural 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 and as well as showcasing stories from Arup’s rich cultural history. 

For more information, please contact [email protected] or follow phase2exhibitions on Instagram for the latest updates.

Simon Phipps: West Yorkshire Photographs 2023

We are delighted to announce the opening of ‘West Yorkshire Photographs 2023’ , a new exhibition of works by Leeds-born artist Simon Phipps exploring some of the most interesting architectural landmarks of West Yorkshire. The project was commissioned for Arup’s new office in Leeds. Phipps is well known for capturing British modernist and brutalist architecture on camera. Here, he turns his attention to buildings ranging from the Egyptian revival splendour of the former 19th century flax mill Temple Works to the austere minimalism of Emley Moor Tower, a design developed by Arup’s Jack Zunz in 1971 who, at the same time was leading the completion of the Sydney Opera House. As Phipps wrote: ‘Most of the photographs included in the project fall outside of my usual scope but nonetheless they display the integrity and vision that I find most compelling in architecture’.

The exhibition is on display at Arup, 11-12 Wellington Place, Leeds LS1 4AJ. Viewing by appointment, please contact [email protected] or please contact [email protected] if you would like to receive a copy of the exhibition booklet.

Temple works Temple works
Temple Works, Leeds. Former flax mill completed 1838. Photo: © Simon Phipps, 2023

Tributaries, an exploration of water through artists’ film, The House Mill, London

Tributaries is an exciting new film exhibition about water at the House Mill, Three Mills Island, London. Developed in partnership with The Line the group exhibition brings together five powerful works by artists representing different geographies:  Hanna Ljungh, Ursula Biemann, Daniela Medina Poch & Elizabeth Gallón Droste, Martha Atienza  and Alberta Whittle. Their critical engagement with water through the moving image highlights how the social and environmental are inextricably linked and the integral role that water continues to play in our survival.

On show at The House Mill, the word’s largest surviving tidal mill dating from the 18th century, the exhibition continues until 8 October 2023.

Admission is free. Opening hours: Thurs – Sunday, 13.00-17.00h

Hanna Ljungh, How to Civilize a Waterfall, 2010. Image: Courtesy of Martin Edelsteen. Hanna Ljungh, How to Civilize a Waterfall, 2010. Image: Courtesy of Martin Edelsteen.
Hanna Ljungh, How to Civilize a Waterfall, 2010, video still. Courtesy of the artist and Filmform. Image: Courtesy of Martin Edelsteen.

First UK public art commission by Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey

We are delighted to announce the launch of ‘Tribe and Tribulation’ by Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey  co-curated with The Line .This multi-layered new public commission is located on The Line’s sculpture trail at Greenwich Peninsula, London.

‘Tribe and Tribulation’ is an almost six metre tall totemic sculpture with embedded sound composed of four large cubes fabricated from a combination of local reclaimed wood and painted timber remnants of Ghanaian fishing boats. It weaves together Clottey’s interest in our relationship to the ocean, migration and the afterlife of objects. The sounds of Ghanaian contemporary life, including the calls of the fishermen, have been specially recorded around the sites of former slave forts in the then Gold Coast, parts of which are today designated as world heritage sites honouring the memories of the enslaved captives. They invite the listener to consider how life has changed over the years in a process which Clottey describes as ‘sound through the journey of time’. 

The work’s location on the bank of the Thames against the backdrop of Canary Wharf, London’s business district, makes an important connection to historical trade routes, and encourages the listener to reflect upon the role of water in lives past and present.

The Line Serge AC Thierry Bal The Line Serge AC Thierry Bal
‘Tribe and Tribulation’ was realised with the kind support of the British Council and the Henry Moore Foundation. The Line is London’s first dedicated public art walk where everyone can explore art, nature and heritage for free. Photo: © Thierry Bal

As part of the project, an educational exchange programme in collaboration with the Foundation for Contemporary Art – Ghana involving around 600 children linked primary schools in Accra and London. Learning resources specially developed with experts from Arup focussed on issues like the impact of ocean waste on marine life.  The children were tasked with creating masks using plastic and other waste materials  inspired by Clottey’s practice. On 26th May 2022, they took part in processions in London and Accra. Watch the event below:

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Past exhibitions

Gardner Arts Centre, University of Sussex, designed by Basil Spence & Partners - built 1967-69. Photo: Simon Phipps, 2022

Another Brick In The Wall, Leeds University Library Galleries

23 November 2022  25 March 2023

Another Brick In The Wall opens at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds, co-curated by renowned photographer of Brutalist/Modernist architecture Simon Phipps and writer Darren Umney. The exhibition explores the radical designs of three new universities in the postwar era: Leeds, Sussex and East Anglia. Rarely seen archival material of the period, including from the Arup archives, is shown alongside new photographs of the universities which Phipps has specially produced for the project.

Kisa Kawakami, Arc IV, 1986, © the artist

Works from the Arup Collection

23 March 2020 – 20 April 2023

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.

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

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  18. 2018
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