Ove Arup bigraphy, stories - Anglo-Danish engineer

Ove Arup : biography

16 April 1895 - 5 February 1988

Sir Ove Nyquist Arup, CBE, MICE, MIStructE (16 April 1895 – 5 February 1988), known as Ove Arup, was an Anglo-Danish engineer who founded Arup Group Limited, a multinational corporation that offers engineering, design, planning, project management, and consulting services for building systems.Jones, 2006. Ove Arup is considered to be among the foremost architectural structural engineers of his time.

Early life and education

Arup was born in Newcastle, England, in 1895, to the Danish veterinary surgeon Jens Simon Johannes Arup and his Norwegian wife Mathilde Bolette Nyquist. Arup attended the Sorø Academy in Denmark—a boarding school with many influences from Dr Thomas Arnold of the Rugby School in the United Kingdom.

In 1913, he began studying philosophy at Copenhagen University and in 1918 enrolled for an engineering degree at the Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen, specialising in reinforced concrete. He completed his studies in 1922. At this time Ove Arup was influenced by Charles Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) and his publication Vers une architecture, published that year; and also by Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus movement.


  • 1965 Knight First Class of the Order of the Dannebrog
  • 1966 Royal Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects
  • 1971 British Knighthood
  • 1973 Gold Medal of the Institution of Structural Engineers
  • 1975 Knight Commander First Class of the Order of the Dannebrog
  • 1987 Royal Academician


Notable projects

Highpoint I

Highpoint I was an important experiment in high-rise residential design, and was one of Arup's most significant collaborations with Lubetkin. Arup later criticised the project as having significant flaws.

Sydney Opera House

Arup was the design engineer for the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia from the project's start in 1957 to its completion in 1973. An iconic building making groundbreaking use of precast concrete, structural glue and computer analysis, this made Arup's reputation, and that of his firm, despite the extremely difficult working relationship with the architect, Jørn Utzon.

Kingsgate Bridge

Ove Arup personally supervised the design and construction of Durham's Kingsgate Bridge in 1963. The firm's first bridge, Arup was particularly attached to the project and had his ashes scattered from it following his death. A bust of Arup that was placed at one end of the Bridge was stolen in the summer of 2006 but has since been replaced.

Working life

Before WWII

In 1922, Ove Arup began work with a Danish firm in Hamburg called Christiani & Nielsen, and in December 1923 he moved to their London office as chief engineer.Jones, 2006. (p. 31).

Arup married Ruth Sørensen, known as Li, on 13 August 1925.Jones, 2006. (p. 44).

Between 1932–37 he designed the Labworth Café—a café with two integrated shelters set on the promenade of the neighbouring Essex seaside resort of Canvey Island. The café exists as the only building solely designed by Arup."...the Labworth Café, the only building designed by the distinguished engineer Ove Arup." (Bettley, 2008). "...one of the only architectural designs by Ove Arup", (English heritage, 2007). He then worked as structural consultant to the Tecton partnership, notably on the Penguin Pool at London's Regent’s Park Zoo,Glynn, 1998-2006. Whipsnade Zoo, Dudley Zoo and on Highpoint One, Highgate (a building he was later highly critical of). The close working relationship that Arup developed with Tecton's senior partner Berthold Lubetkin, proved to be highly important in the development of both men's careers.

He moved next to a London construction company, J. L. Kier & Co. in London, as director and chief designer from 1934–1938, and during the 1930s he also worked with Ernö Goldfinger, Wells Coates, Maxwell Fry, Yorke, Rosenberg & Mardall and Marcel Breuer.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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