Arup heritage team highlights conservation in the built environment

An Anglo Saxon brooch, a fountain pen made from 13th century oak and glass from a masterpiece of post-war architecture are amongst the artifacts being shared with the public for the first time by Arup’s heritage team. 

The Artefacts & Influence: Objects in dialogue exhibition at Arup’s central London office will run until 5 May 2017. The artefacts on display span 12,000 years of human history and are being shared to raise awareness of the importance of fully integrated heritage work into projects in the built environment. 

The items on display together represent six themes - gifts, fortification, glass, transportation, community and identity. They include:  

  • A thirteenth century oak fountain pen, made from the collapsed roof at York Minster 
  • A 12,000 year old Upper Palaeolithic long blade 
  • An Edwardian jar of Virol bone marrow paste 
  • The skeleton of a young female of Roman heritage 
  • An Anglo-Saxon brooch made from gold and semi-precious stones
  • Translucent glass from James Stirling and James Gowan’s Engineering Building in Leicester

Thomas Pearson, senior designer and conservationist at Arup, said, “The rate of change in human culture - expressed through various technologies, artworks and patterns of behaviour - is staggering. In bringing these artefacts together and telling their fascinating stories we want to explore how certain themes could resonate across centuries and still be relevant today.” 

The Arup heritage team have worked on major projects as diverse as Crossrail, Amsterdam’s historic New Rijkmuseum, and the conservation of the river wall at the Tower of London. 

Jerome Frost, leader of planning UKMEA at Arup, said, “We place great importance on the need to carefully manage the heritage aspects of our project work. Buried archaeology, or limitations due to a building’s listed status, can be huge challenges. Overcoming them and learning from them requires detailed investigation, creative thinking and careful communication. The artefacts we have worked with are a fascinating insight into history.” 

The exhibition is co-curated by Suzanna Joy and Thomas Pearson and runs until 5 May 2017 at Arup, 8 Fitzroy St, London W1T 4BJ. Entry is free. Exhibition opening hours are 10am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. Closed on bank holidays.

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