Beyond 2012 - an integrated Design Story

The ArcelorMittal Orbit
A built environment design story

“Throughout the design process, the firm had to resolve key issues such as: comfort for visitors, access and maintenance, weathering, and the construction sequence.”

Kathryn Findlay
Director

Tell us about the early design brief

To develop the ArcelorMittal Orbit from sculptural form to habitable structure and visitor attraction

What inspired your design concept?

Working with two of the most inspiring people in their fields – art and engineering

How did it feel to be involved in such a large and important British project?

An honour. It was exciting working with a big team where everything came together for the critical moment.

What challenges did you face along the way?

Taking a concept sketched as a single flowing line and translating it into a very large three-dimensional form which human beings could safely inhabit, whilst retaining as far as possible the vision of the artists and helping generate an immensely powerful sculpture.

What about specific design challenges?

The practice needed to create a solution for public access that worked both with the sinuous design and with Arup’s refined engineering. Throughout the design process, the firm had to resolve key issues such as: comfort for visitors, access and maintenance, weathering, and the construction sequence.

Safety and delivery within a limited time frame were the key challenges for the project, but the level of cooperation between the stakeholders was very good and challenges were easily overcome.

Agency

Company name
Ushida Findlay Architects

Project
The ArcelorMittal Orbit

Website
ushida-findlay.com

Project team

Kathryn Findlay
Director

Carl Johannsen-Ward
Project Leader

Thomas Van Hoffelen
Deputy Project Leader

John Simpson
Architect

Miya Ushida
Architectural Assistant

Chris Barnes
Architectural Assistant

Alex Potter
Architectural Assistant

Greg Andrews
Architectural Assistant

Theresa Simon
Theresa Simon & Partners

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