Ove Arup: The Philosopher Engineer
by Amirani Media
The extraordinary life and work of Ove Arup, considered THE engineer of the 20th century and the thinking architects’ engineer.
Featuring Ove Arup, Lord Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano and an illustrious cast of engineers who worked with him since 1946. Includes contributions from architecture journalist Jonathan Glancey plus the story of Jørn Utzon and the Sydney Opera House.
Produced and Directed by Taghi Amirani, Cameraman: Chris Morphet, Editor: Martyn Hone
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Sir Ove Arup, philosopher and engineer, made an enormous impact during his long and fruitful life on the attitudes of those concerned with the design of the built environment.
A formidable perfectionist, warm, self-depreciating, scrupulously – sometimes brutally – honest, Ove’s ability to inspire was remarkable. He commanded great loyalty and affection from those who worked with him. He was born in 1895, the son of the Danish Consul in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and was educated in Germany and later Denmark.
His took his first degree in philosophy and mathematics at the University of Copenhagen. He then considered studying architecture but was unsure of his artistic talents. He moved to the Royal Technical College in Copenhagen to study engineering, deciding he would rather be a good engineer than a second-rate architect. On graduating, Ove joined the Danish civil engineers Christiani & Nielsen in their Hamburg office. In 1923 he moved to the London office as chief designer, and his interest in modernist architecture grew.
In 1938, Ove and his cousin Arne set up Arup & Arup Ltd, a firm of engineers and contractors. Eight years later, in 1946, he established the firm now known as Arup.
Ove designed his engineering solutions intuitively and then proved them mathematically. Preferring to bounce ideas around, he would brandish his thick pencil, and his sketches would cause further ideas to come pouring out.
He was renowned for his inability to finish sentences — the Danish accent he never lost increasing with his excitement. One of Ove’s early Partners, Sir Jack Zunz, wrote of him: ‘looking back over his life and work, one comes back again and again to his passion for quality and his quest for excellence in all that he did — personal and professional.’ (text source: ovearupfoundation.org)