The design firm Arup has three projects shortlisted for this year's RIBA Stirling Prize, to be announced this Saturday, 16 October, from 8pm and broadcast live on Channel 4.
The firm has a history of nominations for the Stirling Prize, including three winners in the last six years: Laban Dance Centre (2003), Lord's Media Centre (1999) and the American Air Museum at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford (1998). Arup also had 15 other projects shortlisted in the same period.
This year Arup provided multi-disciplinary engineering on 30 St Mary Axe (for Swiss Re), London; the Imperial War Museum North, Salford, Manchester; and the Spire of Dublin, Ireland, working closely with the architects - Foster and Partners, Daniel Libeskind and Ian Ritchie Architects respectively - to produce 'outstanding contributions to British architecture,' which is the overall aim of the award.
Terry Hill, Chairman of Arup, said: 'We are delighted to have worked on three of this year's finalists for the Stirling Prize. All three projects represent the social face of our cities and their nomination can be largely attributed to collaborative teamwork between the clients, architects, engineers, consultants and contractors.
'We have incorporated a number of new technologies and methodologies into each project, such as providing geometric solutions to the complexities of the Imperial War Museum, 3-D computer modelling to define the required steel elements of the 30 St. Mary Axe, and innovative structural and wind engineering for the Spire of Dublin.
'We hope our contribution will assist in the successful evolution of our built environment.'
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Imperial War Museum of the North
Client: Imperial War Museum
Architect: Daniel Libeskind
The Imperial Museum North demonstrates the collaborative success of the offices of Studio Libeskind and Arup. From competition through to realising the architect's vision, Arup brought tangible order and form to the building through structural, geotechnical, facade and civil building services.
Considerable effort was given to overcome not only major design issues but also financial constraints to provide the north-west region with a building of superb architectural form, containing a wealth of visual and educational material. It is an experience to visit the museum with its complex geometrical forms, which are based on the concept of shards representing earth, air and water from a fragmented world.
Major steel frames follow the geometry of the architectural form. The 55m high air shard leans by 4m at the top to provide a superb viewing position over the surrounding area. Wind tunnel testing and careful design have provided cost effective solutions for all elements of the building.
30 St. Mary Axe
Client: Swiss Re
Architect: Foster and Partners
Arup realised the structure for London's most unusual modern London landmark - 30 St Mary Axe. Drawing on years of expertise in structural engineering, geotechnics, fire and security consultancy, transport planning, and wind engineering, the firm delivered the memorable spiralling steel frame for the 180m tall building.
Arup achieved Foster and Partners' vision of a curved, tapering form by designing a diagonal steel structure - a diagrid - to frame the spiralling lightwells. 360 steel nodes are the key elements of the diagrid, which were developed to simplify its construction. It consists of intersecting tubular steel sections that provide vertical support to the floor and an additional benefit of this is column-free office space. As well as structural support, the diagrid also gives excellent performance under wind loading.
Extensive 3-D computer modelling was used to determine the sizes of the steel frame. The structure was also drawn in 3-D and the model was used by the architect to co-ordinate the overall design and the steel contractor to generate fabrication information. This resulted in a smooth transition from drawing board to fabrication.
The Spire, Dublin, Ireland
Client: Dublin City Council
Architect: Ian Ritchie Architects
The O'Connell Street site was formerly occupied by a 40.8m high monument to the memory of Admiral Lord Nelson which was destroyed in 1966. The project brief was to 'reinstate a monument which has a pivotal role in the composition of the street ... (it) should be a new symbol and image of Dublin for the 21st century.'
Winning the competition with Ian Ritchie architects to work on the The Spire was a chance for Arup to extend its already extensive portfolio of engineering work on sculptures. Arup provided geotechnical, materials, wind engineering, and structural and building services to realise the architect's vision of a tall, slender spire that tapers to a point at its pinnacle.
Conceptually the structure is simple. This belies the complexity of the underlying engineering. The tip of The Spire is 120m above ground level; at its base it is 3m in diameter, tapering to 150mm at the tip. By the nature of its height and slenderness, wind is the dominant load on The Spire, therefore establishing the design required an understanding and application of fundamental wind engineering principals. This subsequently determined its plate thickness, joint design criteria, weld fatigue criteria, damper design, tolerances, etc. The project was a true collaboration of architecture and engineering.
With its origins as consulting structural engineers, Arup is now a firm of designers, with over 7000 staff working worldwide, from more than 70 offices in over 30 countries. This workforce contributes to an expansive design portfolio ranging from: concert halls to galleries; automobiles to infrastructure; and structural to environmental engineering. Arup is constantly evolving its skill base to reflect the diversity of both its clients and staff.
For more information on Arup, please visit our website www.arup.com
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