An exhibition showcasing the life, work and legacy of design, planning and engineering service provider Arup founder Ove Arup was unveiled early this month at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.
The exhibition titled ‘Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design’ will be curated by V&A co-curator Zofia Trafas White and the V&A’s design, architecture and digital department’s, Maria Nicanor, and will cover over 100 years of engineering design.
White notes that on display will be over 150 objects, including previously unseen prototypes, models, archival materials, drawings, film and photographs, presenting how Arup redefined civil and structural engineering and pioneered a multidisciplinary approach to design, which the firm still follows today.
She adds that the show highlights Arup’s approach to ‘total architecture’, the adoption and development of innovative technologies, and how cutting-edge engineering solutions have changed the built environment. Stories behind the development of famous historic buildings, such the Sydney Opera House and the Centre Pompidou, in Paris, will be revealed alongside current projects such as Crossrail and High Speed 2 – a planned high-speed railway in the UK.
She states that the recently developed SoundLab and SolarLeaf – an experimental bioreactive façade system that uses microalgae to generate renewable energy will allow visitors to immerse themselves in the creative and collaborative work of engineers, architects and designers, who, together design our buildings, cities and urban systems.
“Arup was the greatest engineer of the twentieth century. Unconventional and playful in his approach, his collaborative working style revolutionised building design during his lifetime and influenced how buildings are made today. “His career began at the height of the Modern Movement in the twentieth century and went on to last over five decades. The exhibition will paint a picture of the man whose ideas led to the creation of one of the most innovative and influential engineering consultancies working today and will present Arup’s key contributions to almost 100 years of engineering developments in the built environment design. “Engineering the World will shed new light on the behind-the-scenes engineering stories that made possible some of the world’s most iconic buildings,” states White.
Arup group deputy chairperson Tristram Carfae highlights that: “Arup founded the firm with a highly original vision, combining philosophy and engineering to create a holistic approach to design that he called “total architecture”. “Given the significant challenges the world faces, this pioneering approach to engineering design has never been more relevant than today.
“For his life and our ongoing work to be recognised and celebrated by such a world renowned institution as the V&A is very gratifying. It demonstrates how Arup was a pioneer of his time and how the firm continues to follow his pursuit of creativity and innovation based on world-class expertise.”