ArcelorMittal Orbit – Arup is a multinational organization that provides a wide range of professional services to clients worldwide. It is a sacred place for designers, engineers, planners, and business consultants. People are the driving force behind many of the world’s most inventive and sustainable designs, including the V&A Dundee, Sydney Opera House, and Beijing National Stadium, at Arup. With thousands of qualified specialists working across hundreds of disciplines on projects worldwide, Arup has made international teamwork a way of life. Arup leads a global team with a single goal: to shape a better world.

ArcelorMittal Orbit by Arup Associates and Arup - Sheet1
Sir Ove Arup_©

“Total Architecture” implies that all relevant design decisions have been considered and integrated into a whole by a well-organized team empowered to fix priorities.”
Sir Ove Arup

Arup Associates works on several fronts in the construction business; these disciplines, together with Arup Associates’ giant umbrella, make it a one-of-a-kind practice globally. The world of today emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to issue solutions. Nonetheless, Arup is well ahead in research, design, planning, and problem-solving advances. Arup offers services in over 150 disciplines, diversifying its offering. Arup’s shared values, like the company’s name, are based on the views and convictions of the company’s founder, engineer and philosopher Sir Ove Arup.

The common principles of Arup, as well as the name of the company, are derived from the convictions and beliefs of Sir Ove Arup, an engineer and philosopher who founded it. He thought that labour only had value when it had a higher goal to strive for. They still uphold the notion that efforts are truly successful when they contribute to a better world. They acknowledge that there are many distinct aspects to sustainable development. Its goal as a global sustainable development consultancy is to create cities, infrastructure, and communities that are secure, welcoming, and resilient. As a result, their approach also emphasizes social value, stable economic growth, resource conservation, biodiversity, and environmental regeneration.

ArcelorMittal Orbit, London

ArcelorMittal Orbit by Arup Associates and Arup - Sheet2
ArcelorMittal Orbit at night_©

Former Arup Deputy Chair Cecil Balmond collaborated with internationally renowned artist Anish Kapoor to build the ArcelorMittal Orbit. At 114.5 meters tall, the sculpture is the highest piece of public art in the United Kingdom, but its significance surpasses its scale. The sculpture, created as a landmark for the London 2012 Olympic Games, will remain at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a reminder of the event’s legacy. Its unique and complex form—a continuous, looping lattice of tubular steel—joined art, architecture, and engineering, posing fundamental challenges to planners, designers, and engineers alike.

Additional challenges occurred due to the requirement to include light and vertical transit while maintaining the design’s energy efficiency and aesthetics. On the other hand, Arup created a sophisticated and ecologically friendly sculpture that challenges conventional tower concepts, demonstrating how artists and engineers can collaborate creatively and successfully to create big and difficult artworks in public spaces.

A Challenging Design | ArcelorMittal Orbit

Under the guidance of Arup and Sir Robert McAlpine, construction began in October 2010 and ended in May 2012. They ran into several issues immediately because the design, approval, contract, and procurement processes were all accomplished concurrently rather than sequentially.

The design was steered through the conceptual development process using specific parametric tools to achieve its challenging form. The tools assisted the team in meeting a tight deadline while delivering building information for the contractor and shaping the structural form in real-time. The structure’s incorporation into a network of connected spaces provides visitors and spectators with a three-dimensional experience.

The Orbit, with two observation platforms 80m and 85m above ground, was designed as an attraction that provides a unique viewpoint of the Olympic Village and views of London’s renowned skyscrapers. The team implemented a vertical transit system as inventive as the structure’s design to access the observation decks. Working with fire engineering experts, the team proved that exterior lifts could take guests to the observation deck and safely evacuate them in an emergency. As an alternate emergency evacuation route, a spiral staircase with 455 steps was constructed for the structure.

ArcelorMittal Orbit by Arup Associates and Arup - Sheet3
Viewing Deck at ArcelorMittal Orbit_©

A sustainable and sympathetic structure

The sculpture quickly gained notoriety as Anish Kapoor’s first illuminated public artwork. The sculpture was a recognizable representation of the Olympic Games in 2012, with a variety of modes for different events and times of day.

To address the critical issue of sustainability, a uniform, energy-efficient, and visually appealing lighting solution was required. The team used the GSA Suite program from Oasys, a cutting-edge structural analysis tool, to design a lightweight yet energy-efficient structure.

The installation gained entire attention at night as Anish Kapoor’s first illuminated public sculpture. The installation, which was a known image of the 2012 Olympic Games, had a variety of modes for different events and times of day.

ArcelorMittal Orbit by Arup Associates and Arup - Sheet4
Form Exploration by Anish Kapoor_©
ArcelorMittal Orbit by Arup Associates and Arup - Sheet5
Form Exploration by Anish Kapoor_©
ArcelorMittal Orbit by Arup Associates and Arup - Sheet6
Form Exploration models  by Anish Kapoor_©
Form Exploration by Anish Kapoor (Aerial View)_©
Rendered Image Anish Kapoor_©

The lighting experts at Arup chose saturated red LED lights to emphasize the custom red Anish Kapoor wanted for the sculpture, creating the artwork’s most dramatic visual impact. Because LEDs do not generate UV light, which would otherwise harm neighboring animals such as moths and bats, red lights would consume less energy than white counterparts.

Arup’s integrated team of architects, structural engineers, and lighting designers guaranteed that all local requirements were observed and monitored. Intelligent lighting technologies was used to assess and forecast the illumination distribution across the sculpture and its surroundings. The structure’s projectors were discreetly installed, and all connections and cabling were concealed, minimizing light leakage onto the ecologically sensitive part of the river corridor.

The Tower of Babel Pieter Bruegel the Elder, oil on panel, c. 1563 _©

“There is a kind of medieval sense to it of reaching up to the sky, building the impossible. A procession, if you like. It’s a long winding spiral: a folly that aspires to go even above the clouds and has something mythic about it.” – Anish Kapoor


Anish Kapoor : Orbit (no date). Available at: (Accessed: November 1, 2022).

The Arcelor Mittal Orbit: Arup+anish kapoor+ balmond studio (2021) Available at: (Accessed: November 1, 2022).

The ArcelorMittal Orbit (no date) Arup. Available at: (Accessed: November 1, 2022).

Contributor, A.J. (2020) ArcelorMittal Orbit, Olympic Park, London by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond with Ushida findlay architects and arup, The Architects’ Journal. Available at: (Accessed: November 1, 2022).

Marcus Fairs |31 March 2010 221 comments (2022) ArcelorMittal orbit by Anish Kapoor, Dezeen. Available at: (Accessed: October 30, 2022).

Sánchez, D. (2012) ArcelorMittal Orbit / Anish Kapoor, ArchDaily. ArchDaily. Available at: (Accessed: October 31, 2022). 

(no date) Anish Kapoor. Available at: (Accessed: November 1, 2022).