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ArcelorMittal Orbit: the architect's story

The 80m-tall twisted metal viewing tower-cum-sculpture officially called the ArcelorMittal Orbit, dominates the Stratford skyline. Many people know it was designed by artist Anish Kapoor and engineering legend Cecil Balmond, but few know that Ushida Findlay Architects (UFA) was appointed as the scheme’s architect, with a brief to get the structure through building control. This programme looks at how UFA melded architecture with art and how the practice worked alongside two such established figures.

Key learning:

  • The working relationship between artist and architect
  • Means of escape from an 80m-tall piece of art
  • Overcoming cold bridging
  • How M&E services were routed through the sculpture
  • BREEAM and Building Regulations: Building Control's requirements

About the contributors

Ushida Findlay Architects (UFA) now based in London, initially worked successfully as a collaborative practice in Tokyo, Japan, gaining international recognition for original architecture such as its innovative, all-concrete Truss House project.

Kathryn Findlay is Principal Director of Ushida Findlay Architects (UFA) and design lead on the ArcelorMittal Orbit project for UFA.

John Simpson Project Architect, has been immersed in the ArcelorMittal Orbit project since Ushida Findlay Architects’ (UFA) appointment, and has been the main point of contact between the design team and Building Control.

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Disclaimer: NBS TV programmes are the intellectual property of RIBA Enterprises and it shall be a breach of this right to copy, or in any way exploit commercially or show in public any of the programmes without the express permission of RIBA Enterprises.

The information contained in the programmes is not intended and accordingly shall not be relied upon either as a substitute for professional advice or judgement or to provide legal or other advice with respect to any particular circumstance. RIBA Enterprises accepts no responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the information contained in the programmes.


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