Britain & the Middle East

ADIC headquarters ... unique facade shading system.

ADIC headquarters ... unique facade shading system.

Arup blends local, global knowledge

June 2014

Driven by its ethos of making a difference to the built environment, Arup continues to create distinctive landmarks that leave a legacy to subsequent generations in the region by combining local knowledge with global expertise.

The power to influence the future of the built environment carries with it a weighty responsibility, says a spokesman for the globally-renowned firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists. And in fulfilling this responsibility, the UK-headquartered firm has been involved in some of the stunning landmarks in the region including the Aldar headquarters, Yas Marina hotel, and the Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC) headquarters in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, and the Aspire (Torch) Tower in Doha, Qatar, as well as providing its expertise for the Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and Emirates Golf Club and Terminal Three at Dubai Airport, in Dubai, the UAE.

Arup is now involved in a number of landmark projects in several business sectors throughout the region including aviation, hospitality, arts and culture, sport, rail, city planning and major events, which will be delivered over the next few years. Some of these include the Guggenheim Museum on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi and the 2020 World Expo masterplan in Dubai, both in the UAE; and Qatar National Museum, Sheraton Park, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS) and Msheireb Downtown Doha in Qatar.


Commenting on these projects, Arup director Tony Lovell says: “While each of these projects has its own features and challenges, they all have one thing in common: the opportunity for Arup’s innovative and holistic design approach to be applied in order to make a real difference to our client and the community.”

Among the most striking buildings that have been completed in the region in recent times is the ADIC headquarters, which incorporates a number of innovative design features that have resulted in a 40 per cent saving in carbon emissions for the towers. This includes the building’s unique and dynamic shading system, which opens and closes as the sun moves around the towers.

The project comprises two 150-m-tall towers that share a common podium and a two-level basement for which Arup provided a range of engineering services, including structural, geotechnical, civil, MEP (mechanical, engineering and plumbing), fire, wind and façade engineering.

“A large team of our specialists including acoustics, IT, specialist lighting, security and transport logistics consultants worked from various offices around the world to bring the best global knowledge to this project. They were managed and supported by a core team in Abu Dhabi,” says Lovell.

Founded in 1946 with an initial focus on structural engineering, Arup first came to the world’s attention with the structural design of the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and has since grown into a truly multidisciplinary organisation.

Arup’s success mainly derives from its ability to combine local knowledge with global expertise. “We also have ‘lifecycle’ skills that focus on the bigger, holistic picture of planning, design, delivery and operation instead of purely focusing on a single element of it,” explains Lovell. “As an employee-owned firm, we enjoy a freedom of choice that enables us to pursue projects with an agenda that is not purely commercial but also allows us to meet our ambition to leave a lasting legacy from our project work. This is reflected in everything we do, allowing us to develop meaningful ideas, help shape agendas and deliver results that frequently surpass the expectations of our clients.”

The Midfield Terminal under construction at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The Midfield Terminal under construction at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

So has being a British company with a worldwide portfolio and reputation helped Arup secure some of the coveted projects in the region? Lovell comments: “Arup is built on the same model in every region and country in which we operate – we seek opportunities to add value to our clients’ projects. The projects we have worked on in the region are often secured through existing relationships with international clients, or referrals from existing clients.”

Lovell stresses on the importance of being invited early on in a project to allow it to do full justice to the scheme. “We think it is important to recognise that the biggest opportunity to add value to any project is in the earliest stages,” he says. “Alongside our recognised buildings and infrastructure services, Arup has established a strong local planning team that is helping our clients to conceive and develop projects that will shape the future of the region. Our services range extends across all aspects of project definition including strategic planning, urban design, business case, development planning, environment, sustainability, operations, logistics and mobility. In many instances, we combine these services, and more, to provide our clients with a ‘one stop shop’ of creativity and innovation.”

Arup has offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE and Doha, Qatar. And while the most exciting current prospects for business for Arup are mainly centered around the UAE and Qatar, Lovell says the company is always looking for opportunities to expand into new markets where it feels it can make a difference.

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