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Ask Arup: How to Build on a Site that is "Pretty Much a Pool"

00:00 - 10 January, 2015
Ask Arup: How to Build on a Site that is "Pretty Much a Pool", Eco shelter rendering, Refugio Nasua.. Image © fabrica de ideas (Juan Esteban Correa Elejalde and Julián Felipe Villa)
Eco shelter rendering, Refugio Nasua.. Image © fabrica de ideas (Juan Esteban Correa Elejalde and Julián Felipe Villa)

This article originally appeared on Arup Connect as “Ask Arup: Silty Sand Solutions.”

Architect Juan Esteban Correa Elejalde’s client tasked him with designing an off-the-grid getaway for a rural site near Medellín, Colombia. After completing the initial design concept, Correa Elejalde ordered a soil study of the client’s land.

Unfortunately, the results showed the site to be “pretty much a pool,” he said; the high water table and thick layers of loose soil would provide little capacity to support heavy objects above.

After seeing Arup Connect’s call for engineering-related questions on ArchDaily, he reached out to see if we could offer any insight.

Tall Tinder: Are Wooden Skyscrapers Really Fire Safe?

01:00 - 10 March, 2014
Tall Tinder: Are Wooden Skyscrapers Really Fire Safe?, IZM - Illwerke Zentrum Montafon / Architekten Hermann Kaufmann ZT GmbH. Image © Norman A. Müller
IZM - Illwerke Zentrum Montafon / Architekten Hermann Kaufmann ZT GmbH. Image © Norman A. Müller

While interest in tall timber buildings continues to grow, there still remains one obvious concern: combustibility. So how safe are timber structures really? Arup Connect spoke with Robert Gerard, a fire engineer in Arup’s San Francisco office, to find out how high-rise wood buildings take fire safety into account.

How Should We Implement Smart Cities?

01:00 - 22 February, 2014
How Should We Implement Smart Cities?, Tokyo. Image © Clry2
Tokyo. Image © Clry2

In this article, originally published by Arup Connect as "Anthony Townsend on Smart Cities", Townsend discusses his book "Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia" and explains how, in his view, the push towards smart cities is being led by the wrong people - namely technology companies with short term goals; the architects, planners and scientists who should be leading this change, however, often struggle to share their knowledge.

Your book argues that there's a need for grassroots action rather than top-down, corporate-led implementation of smart cities. How do you see architects and engineers fitting into this picture?

Architects and engineers for the most part have to serve the interests of their clients. There's a balance that has to be struck, almost on a project-by-project basis, about how much they can push back in saying a piece of technology related to the business model for the project, or even a placemaking strategy, has unintended consequences, or that there may be a more democratic or innovative approach.

A lot of the vision of smart cities has been shaped by IT engineers and marketers. The problem there is not just that it's sort of a naïve vision being pushed by companies with very short-term sales goals. It just doesn't appreciate the complexity of good urbanism, and the role that both communications and information play in creating good places that people want to buy, work, live in.

Read more about the challenges facing smart cities after the break

New York City in 2050 (Twenty-Seven Predictions)

01:00 - 6 December, 2013

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Arup’s New York office, we’ve spent the past few months talking with people inside the firm and beyond about the future of the city. We asked them to come up with blue-sky ideas about the New York of 2050 without worrying too much about financial or political feasibility. Circumstances can change a great deal over almost four decades, after all, and tomorrow’s constraints might look very different than today’s. We then worked with graphic designerJosh Levi to synthesize and visualize the results — view the large version here. Our main goal: to spark conversations about long-term priorities for the city and possible ways to achieve them.

What would you add to the list? How would you change it?

Read all 27 predictions, after the break...

Three Arup Specialists Share Their Vision of The Future of Healthcare Design

01:00 - 22 October, 2013
Three Arup Specialists Share Their Vision of The Future of Healthcare Design, Laguna Honda Hospital, San Francisco. Image © David Wakely Photography
Laguna Honda Hospital, San Francisco. Image © David Wakely Photography

This interview was originally posted on Arup Connect and titled "Global perspectives on the future of healthcare design".

In the last few decades, rapid advances in both medical and consumer technologies have created revolutionary possibilities for every aspect of healthcare, from prevention to diagnosis to treatment and beyond. From DNA-based preventative care to digital appointments with doctors thousands of miles away, the future holds enormous potential for improving longevity and quality of life for people around the world.

These dynamics present significant challenges for designers working to shape a built environment that will meet healthcare needs both today and in the future. We spoke with Arup experts from around the globe — Phil Nedin, who heads the firm’s global healthcare business from London; Bill Scrantom, the Los Angeles-based healthcare leader for North and South America; and Katie Wood, who recently relocated from Australia to Toronto to build the Canadian practice — to learn more.

Ask Arup: What Are the Best Ways to Use 3ds Max in Visualizations?

00:00 - 31 August, 2013
Ask Arup: What Are the Best Ways to Use 3ds Max in Visualizations?, Courtesy of Arup Connect
Courtesy of Arup Connect

This article originally appeared on Arup Connect as "Ask Arup: Visualization Edition."

For our latest round of Ask Arup, ArchDaily reader Biserat Yesflgn requested tips for visualization software 3ds Max (formerly known as 3D Studio Max). We spoke to New York-based Arup visualization specialist Anthony Cortez to find out how he uses the program, what skills prospective visualization artists need, and how the field is evolving.

Ask Arup: What's the Optimal Tree Branch to Build a Tree House?

00:00 - 9 August, 2013

You asked, an expert Arup engineer has answered! 

In the first of our video series with Arup, structural engineer Matt Clark addresses ArchDaily reader Hannah Worthington's inquiry, submitted via our facebook page: "How do you work out the structural capacity of a tree branch to build a tree house?"

Dying to get your question answered in the next "Ask Arup" video? Ask away in the comments below.

Sketching in the Digital Age: More Relevant than Ever?

00:00 - 9 July, 2013
Sketching in the Digital Age: More Relevant than Ever?, Courtesy of Arup Connect
Courtesy of Arup Connect

Our friends at Arup Connect spoke with Matt Williams, a leader of the façade engineering group in Arup’s Americas region and one serious sketcher, about the role of sketching in the digital age. The following interview, originally titled "To Sketch or Not to Sketch," discusses how sketching enables communication and how our over-reliance on technology isn't really as efficient as we may think.

One of the things we’ve been trying to develop in the façades group is people who can relate to the architect, developing and responding to the key architectural requirements. Having come from an architectural background myself, historically there seems to be a bit of a conflict, if that’s the right word, between architects and engineers. There shouldn’t be, though. Everyone wants the same thing at the end of the day: a successful project.

Read the rest of the interview, after the break...

Reconnecting the Subway with the Sky

01:00 - 15 May, 2013
Reconnecting the Subway with the Sky, Courtesy of MTA-CC/NYCT Arup
Courtesy of MTA-CC/NYCT Arup

In the early years of the New York City subway system, natural light played a dominant role in the illumination of subterranean spaces. The architecture emphasized a connection to the sky, often through skylights planted in the median of city avenues above — lenses in the concrete sidewalks.

However, it proved extremely difficult to keep the skylights clean, and light eventually stopped passing through. Subway authorities moved toward an almost exclusive reliance on electric lighting. While this allowed for greater flexibility in station design, permitting construction at any location and depth, it also created a sense of disorientation and alienation for some passengers.

For the design of Lower Manhattan's Fulton Center, Arup, in conjunction with design architect Grimshaw sought to reconnect the century-old subway system with the world above.

Read more about this "enlightening" subway station, after the break...

Courtesy of Arup Courtesy of Arup Courtesy of Arup Courtesy of MTA-CC/NYCT Arup + 16