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.


Diana Brandenburger

b 1932, d 2008
Bronze head of Sir Ove Arup (1895–1988), 1987
Bronze and wood

Diana Brandenburger made six castings of this sculpture a year before Ove Arup’s death, including one for Kingsgate Bridge, Durham (an Ove Arup design), which was stolen in 2006. A casting is also in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London. Another of Brandenburger’s bronze sculptures titled 'The Refugee' was exhibited in Chichester Cathedral in 2008. She was married to John Brandenburger who worked with Arup Associates.

Richard Bryant

b 1947 in Wolverhampton, based in London, UK
The Menil Collection, interior view of the West Gallery displaying works by John Chamberlain and David Novros, 1987
Digital C-type print (printed in 2012)

Richard Bryant trained as an architect at Kingston University before becoming an architectural  photographer. In 1982 with his wife Lynne he set up Arcaid Images: a global photo archive of contemporary architecture, interiors and design. Bryant's photographs of The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, designed by Renzo Piano and engineered by Arup, taken the year the museum opened, have received international acclaim.




Edward Burtynsky

b 1955 in St Catharines, based in Toronto, Canada
Salt Pans #25, Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India, 2016
Archival pigment print

Edward Burtynsky has  been  photographing  the  impact of human industrial activity on the environment since the 1980s. Using a large-format camera, he shoots from several thousand feet above the ground capturing a wealth of detail while using a flattening  technique  to give his photographs an enigmatic, abstract, painterly quality. This photograph records the salt extraction  industry  in  Northern  India, which is jeopardised by receding groundwater levels.


Robert Clatworthy

b 1928 in Bridgwater, Somerset, d 2015 in Llandovery, UK
Figure of a horse, 1983

Robert Clatworthy studied art at Chelsea School of Art, London, and became Henry Moore’s assistant in the 1950s. Between 1971 and 1975 he was head of the fine art department at the Central School of Art and Design, London. This figure of a horse is a typical example of his small animal bronzes made with heavily textured surfaces. His large-scale 'Horseman and Eagle', commissioned in 1984 for 1 Finsbury Avenue, London, an Arup Associates design, is now in the grounds of Charing Cross Hospital, London.

Jim Dine

b 1935 in Cincinnati, based in New York City, USA
Lloyds Building, 1986
Aquatint in colours

American artist Jim Dine is best-known for his contribution to the Pop Art and Neo Dadaist movements and his skill as a printmaker. He has often used tools and other utilitarian household objects as motifs as well as the bathrobe and stylised images
of the heart, depicted in vibrant colours. This print was produced to celebrate the opening of the Lloyds Building, London, designed by Richard Rogers and Partners and engineered by Arup.

© Jim Dine / ARS, NY and DACS, London 2021

Eileen Gray

b 1878 in Enniscorthy, Ireland, d 1976 in Paris, France
E1027 side table (adjustable), 1930s
Chromium-plated tubular steel, clear glass

Originally designed in 1927 by Eileen Gray for her new house in Roquebrune-Cap Martin, the E1027 side table has become one of the most iconic furniture designs of the modernist period. Arup is thought to have acquired this table in the early 1950s for the first office at 8 Fitzroy Street, London.

Nicolas Grospierre

b 1975 in Geneva, Switzerland, based in Warsaw, Poland
Aviation Museum paper plane (design #2 of 5), 2011
Double-sided digital print on Somerset enhanced paper, folded to create a paper plane

The Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow, Poland, opened in 2010. Designed by Justus Pysall, Peter Ruge, Bartlomiej Kisielewski and Arup, the building gives the impression of being folded.

Nicolas Grospierre often produces architectural photography with a twist. This giant paper plane is printed with photographs of the museum's different surfaces: floor, ceiling, roof, interior and exterior walls. Commissioned as part of the Arup Phase 2 cultural programme.

R B Kitaj

b 1932 in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, d 2007 in Los Angeles, USA
Immortal Portraits, 1972
Silkscreen with photolithography

R B Kitaj was a skilled draughtsman who merged printing techniques with collage and painting. From 1963 to the mid 1970s he made several screenprints incorporating photography and text. These two examples, produced after Kitaj’s return to London from California, were a playful reference to his time there. They were based on prepared
collages of torn sheets from various publications with the design drawn on a grid for the printer. Arup acquired them from the artist as part payment for work carried out with architects M J Long & Kentish on his house and studio in Chelsea, London.

Addled Art Minor Works VI, 1975
Silkscreen with photolithography





Ben Johnson

b 1946 in Llandudno, based in London, UK
Structural Trees, Stansted, 1990
Acrylic on canvas

Ben Johnson is interested in the geometry of architectural spaces. His most recent work has focused on large-scale cityscapes. This painting was commissioned by Jack Zunz, who was co-chairman of Arup (1984-89), to celebrate the opening of Stansted Airport designed by Foster and Associates and engineered by Arup. It shows one of 36 'structural trees' made up of four 12-metre-high columns with four branches, a visible roof support structure that has become an icon of high-tech architecture.


Kisa Kawakami

b 1945 in Manchuria, based in London, UK and Tokyo, Japan
Arc IV, 1986
Card on canvas, 11/1V edition

Architect and sculptor Kisa Kawakami came to London from Japan in 1971 and worked for a time for the London Borough of Camden's Architecture Department. His 'Arc' series was shown in his second exhibition in 1986 at the Architects Association where he was Unit Master between 1982 and 1994. Kawakami's elegant paper sculptures - abstract forms using unique cuts and folds from a single piece of card - suited Arup's interest in Modernist experimentation.


Poul Kjaerholm

b 1929 in 0stervra, d 1980 in Hillered, Denmark
PK22 Chair, 1956
Spring steel, leather

Poul Kjaerholm studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen, where he would later teach, from 1952-56. It is quite possible that Kjaerholm knew Ove Arup through E Kold Christensen for whom he designed the PK22 chair. Its elegant, minimal structure and innovative use of steel would no doubt have appealed to the Arup partners. Several of the leather chairs were to be found in the firm's first office at 8 Fitzroy Street, London, and four remain in the Collection.

Victor Newsome

b 1935 in Leeds, d 2018 in London, UK
Profile Suite: Plate 3 of 1, 2 and 3, 1981

Victor Newsome was a member of the Leicester Group – seven radical young artists and teachers based at Leicester College of Art in the mid 1960s. Several of the group, including Newsome, moved to Cardiff in 1964 where they became renowned for experimentation and blurring the boundaries between teaching and art practice. Newsome continued to gain considerable success in his own right. The series of lithographs in the Arup Collection from 1981 shows Newsome’s use of cross contour lines to create heads that have an eery prescience in today’s world of 3D scanning and robotics.

© The Estate of Victor Newsome. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2021

Kenneth Martin

b 1905 in Sheffield, d 1984 in London, UK
History pictures (set of 4), from the Chance and Order series, 1982
Screen prints in colours on wove paper

In the 1950s Kenneth Martin became known as a leader of the British Constructivist movement. Towards the end of his life he produced the 'Chance and Order' series. A grid was set up on paper and its points of intersection numbered. Corresponding
numbers were selected by chance. Each pair of numbers then became a line on the grid. Although the underlying structure remained the same, the resulting correspondences produced a seemingly endless succession of combinations.


Chad McCail

b 1961 in Manchester, based in Edinburgh, UK
Elephant, one of four animal studies for Hong Kong Station (Bear, Tortoise, Bull, Elephant), 1998
Graphite on paper

Chad McCail's work explores the mechanisms of violence and totalitarian obedience within seemingly harmonious settings. This detailed bird's-eye view is littered with individual narratives within a busy city station in the Far East Arup commissioned the drawing as part of a small competition during its development of a new rail station for Hong Kong. The station was part of a major project to redefine the Central district between 1996 and 2003.


Jacqueline Morreau

b 1929 in Milwaukee, USA, d 2016 in London, UK
Succulents - Triptych II, 1988
Oil and pen on canvas

Jacqueline Morreau was a feminist artist whose work questioned social norms of gendered identity. She was also extremely skilled at drawing (she had qualified as a medical illustrator in 1958). In the early 1980s she spent time in California, where she had grown up, with her husband Patrick Morreau, a structural engineer at Arup. She became fascinated by desert plants and made several studies of succulents, including the one in the Arup Collection.


Deanna Petherbridge

b 1939 in Pretoria, South Africa, based in London, UK
Scenes from a Southern Siberia, 1985
Sepia inks on cream paper

Deanna Petherbridge CBE is a politically motivated artist whose practice is drawing-based. She has suggested that this work, with its ironic title, was intended to express tension and confinement through the suppression of space around the crowded vertical elements on the right which do not allow the eye to 'penetrate' them. Her 'Destruction of the City of Homs' (2016), a large-scale drawing on display at Tate Britain in 2019, was produced in response to the ongoing civil war in Syria.

Spare segment from the production run of 'eggcrate' sunshading for the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, USA (scale 1:1), 2003
Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, engineered by Arup Cast aluminium (spray-painted)

Since the dazzlingly audacious design of the Centre Pompidou by Piano and Richard Rogers in 1976 for Paris' Marais district, museums and galleries have been at the heart of the working relationship between Piano  and Arup. This segment shows how a roof made up of thousands of oculi controls the amount of daylight entering the gallery. It represents the ingenuity resulting from the combined skills of engineer and architect.

John Piper

b 1903 in Epsom, d 1992 in Fawley Bottom, UK
The Arup-Jellicoe Line, c 1970 
Pen and ink and watercolour heightened with white

John Piper excelled at producing abstract stained-glass designs and was commissioned in the 1950s with Patrick Reyntiens to create the baptistery window for the new Coventry Cathedral designed by Basil Spence and engineered by Arup. He also developed innovative techniques for combining print, drawing and watercolour as can be seen in this work, which shows a deep-cut road proposal by Ove Arup and and Geoffrey Jellicoe for the M40 motorway through the Chilterns.

© The Piper Estate / DACS 2021

Henk Snoek

b 1915 in Voorburg, the Netherlands, d 1980 in London, UK
Sydney Opera House Roof Model undergoing stress distribution testing at Southampton University, 1960
Photographic prints

Henk Snoek was one of Britain's most accomplished post-war architectural photographers. He worked for Arup throughout the 1960s. These photographs document the rigorous structural analysis of the early Opera House design that was later abandoned for the spherical solution. Snoek continued to photograph many of Arup's buildings, notably the new British universities of the Brutalist era which lent themselves to his dramatic use of light and shadow.


Harry Sowden

b 1929 in London, based in Totnes, UK
Installing the A4 glass wall of the Sydney Opera House, 1971
Digital silver gelatin print on fibre paper (printed 2012)

Harry Sowden joined Arup Associates in 1963 and later set up his own photography studio. He was commissioned by Arup to document the final phase of constructing the Sydney Opera House. Sowden's training as an architect gave him an understanding of the unprecedented challenges faced by the Opera House team as captured in this photograph. (Over 1,600 panes of planar glass had to be fitted into various curved geometries with the glass cut to size on site.)

Bernard Vincent

b 1946 in Amiens, France, where he is based
Gerberettes prior to installation, 1975
Skilled construction worker positioning pin in pinion base on Beaubourg site, 1975
Beaubourg under construction, 1975

Digital silver gelatin prints on fibre paper (printed 2012)


In the first half of the 1970s the Beaubourg (renamed Centre Pompidou in 1974) took shape in the Marais district of Paris. Designed by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano with a team of friends and associates, including Arup's Structures 3 Group, it defied the grandeur of conventional museum architecture. Bernard Vincent captured the evolution of the Beaubourg design from the earliest days of prototyping to the casting of the gerberettes in the foundry in Saarbriicken and their installation on the Paris construction site.

Nick Westby

b 1980 in Shrewsbury, UK, where he is based
Sphere (scale 1:150), 2014
Design and geometry: Nick Westby;
Fabrication: Westby & Jones, Jonny Martin, Richard Roberts, Rob Updegraff; Robotic Fabrication: BMADE and Inigo Dodd;
Digital SLS Nylon: DMC London @ The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL; Seed digital data from SOH digital model by Stuart Bull.
Steamed Beech, D3PVA glue, SLS nylon, 050Acrylic, LEDs

This 3D milled sphere is a tribute to the model-makers and draughtsmen who grappled with the extraordinary geometry of the Sydney Opera House. It maps every spherical roof segment of the Minor Hall on to a sphere by sharing the shells' origin points. The illuminated SLS nylon shells
show the structural rib vaults beneath the external tiling. Commissioned as part of Arup Phase 2's cultural programme.


Simon Wells

b 1955 in London, UK, where he is based
Retort, 1987
Oil on canvas

In 1987 the Young Artists Support Scheme was launched by property developer Jack Goldhill in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts, London, of which he was a patron. He persuaded six firms, including Arup, to join the scheme and commit to purchasing a painting by a graduate of the Academy. Retort is based on tiny ink drawings that the artist made in his notebooks when visiting the then Museum of Mankind next door to the Academy.


About Arup exhibitions

Phase 2 is a programme of exhibitions and events at Arup that explores the intersection between art, design and engineering. 

Find more about Phase 2