Arup Workplaces

Great working relationships produce great results – when everyone pulls together to test boundaries and explore new ideas. 

This founding principle behind global leader Arup is also the story of our collaboration with them, designing a series of exceptional workplaces for their people in Australasia.

We first started working with the multi-national engineering, design and planning firm in 2013, understanding their business, employees and culture within the region. Through that process we could clearly see how the company wanted their workplaces to pull back the curtain’ on the innovation and ingenuity of their organisation and people.

Over the next six years, we teamed up on new workplace guidelines, pilot projects and the design of multiple offices – all part of the company’s plan to progress the living.Arup’ vision and change the way they engaged with clients and collaborators.

Our new guidelines set the overall ethos and working styles for all the offices, but we still left room for each site to show their unique personality through the workplace design. 

Whatever the location, the underlying culture always comes across clearly, reminding staff and visitors how much Arup values the exchange of ideas, the process of experimentation and the power of engineering and design.




Gadigal, Wurundjeri and Whadjuk Country
Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Singapore






Sydney: 7,500sqm, Melbourne: 5,100sqm, Perth: 1,450sqm, Singapore: 7,000sqm

Design team

WORKPLACE STRATEGY: Evodia Alaterou, Steve Coster
SYDNEY WORKPLACE: David Whittaker, Emily Moss, Rob Backhouse, Georgia Darling, Sarah Knapman, Nick Hussey, Jessica Cowie, Cat Devitt, Karen-Lize Pike, Yvonne Pinniger
MELBOURNE WORKPLACE: Rebecca Trenorden, Scott Walker, Kyal Erdman, Bronwyn Pratt, Steve Coster, Ashleigh White, Anna Arkell, Linzi Kik
PERTH WORKPLACE: Adam Paikos-Coe, Stephen Moorcroft, Scott Walker, Steve Coster, Mollie Atkins, Neil Skilling
SINGAPORE WORKPLACE: Matthew Shang, Joel Sampson, Cindy Lefcovitch, Ian Aquino, Kezia Mulia


Earl Carter, Douglas Mark Black, EK Yap

It’s the embodiment of a collaborative exchange of ideas, knowledge and skills between Arup and Hassell.”

Andrew Pettifer Arup Principal and New South Wales Region Leader

Our design revolved around meeting seven strategic objectives at Arup to create a workplace that: 

  • Allows staff and visitors to experience Arup at work
  • Supports the full spectrum of working modes
  • Makes Arup’s people visible
  • Challenges their people and inspires them
  • Is efficient and easy to use
  • Is flexible, elastic and adaptable
  • Expresses health and sustainability

The key challenges we faced in meeting those objectives included: 

  • Same but different: Each workplace needed to convey the essence of Arup while still feeling like a place with a meaningful, local difference. We needed real insight into each location to get the balance right.
  • Space to explore: Across the organisation, there’s an emphasis on sharing knowledge and experimenting with new ideas. But how people do that still varies across sites, where there’s a wide range of working styles. It took smart thinking and careful planning to meet all the different needs – and do it within budget and space constraints.

Arup is an employee-owned business, and broad consultation is fundamental to how they do business. We took their lead, engaging with a wide range of people across the region – everyone from the CEO to graduates – through every stage of guideline development, design strategy and rollout. 

We also customised both our quantitative and qualitative collection methods to match Arup’s approach, gathering data as well as anecdotal evidence. 

This process of alignment made it easier for Arup to have an all-embracing conversation about the future of their business. That, in turn, shaped the workplace objectives and created opportunities to trial new ways of working.

The outcome was a set of guidelines and strategies that were right for Arup, putting them on the path to success with their workplaces.

Melbourne workplace

  • 2019 New York Design Awards - Gold Winner - Interior Design (International Corporate)
  • 2019 Sustainability Awards - Commercial (Large)
  • 2019 Sustainable Building Awards - Commercial Architecture (Large)
  • 2019 Workspace Awards - Technology
  • 2019 Workspace Awards - Sustainability
  • 2019 Workspace Awards - Office
  • 2019 Workspace Awards - Workspace > 1000sqm
  • 2019 Australian Interior Design Awards - Award for Sustainability Advancement
  • 2019 Melbourne Design Awards - Gold in Interior Design - Corporate and Commercial
Design highlights
  • Reinforces the culture of learning and exchange through an Arup University’ 
  • Connects all the floors through a dramatic four-storey void
  • Shows innovators at work, with sound and light labs and a maker’s space visible from the void
  • Features a cast concrete staircase floating between floors that’s a visual reminder of Arup’s ingenuity – and a design and engineering feat
  • Uses mezzanines within expansive voids for a cascading, terraced effect that results in five separate levels – or one huge, multi-connected space
  • Features hackable’ design studios on the top of the mezzanines (including an experiential lab for research) where they’re most visible to people moving through the offices
  • Includes a co-working style café – run by a social enterprise – for clients and suppliers
  • Incorporates a 70m long path – or runway’ – that physically links every collaboration space within the workplace and overcomes fragmentation within the base building
  • Features a reception area designed for meetings – and not just a space for waiting
  • Includes a range of health and sustainability features that make Arup one of the first five companies in Singapore to earn the top-tier Platinum rating under the BCA-HPB Green Mark for Healthier Workplaces scheme
  • Provides a completely flexible work environment where Arup can scale up even beyond what was set out in the brief
  • Creates a welcoming, home-style place – with custom-made rugs, large trees and a base of timber

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