Buro Happold

Buro Happold (previously BuroHappold Engineering) is a British professional services firm that provides engineering consultancy, design, planning, project management, and consulting services for buildings, infrastructure, and the environment. It was founded in Bath, Somerset, in 1976 by Sir Edmund Happold when he took up a post at the University of Bath as Professor of Architecture and Engineering Design.

Buro Happold
Limited Liability Partnership
FounderSir Edmund Happold
United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Paul Rogers, Senior Partner
Neil Squibbs, CEO
James Bruce, COO/CFO
Neil Billett, Global Design Director
ProductsServices, software
Servicesengineering consulting, and specialist consulting services
RevenueGB£171.9 million (2016/17)[3]GB£160 million (2015/16)[4]
Number of employees
DivisionsBuro Happold Ltd, Happold Ingenieurbüro GmbH

Originally working mainly on projects in the Middle East, the firm now operates worldwide and in almost all areas of engineering for the built environment, working in 24 locations around the world.

Sir Edmund HappoldEdit

Edmund (or Ted) Happold worked at Arup before founding Buro Happold, where he worked on projects such as the Sydney Opera House and the Pompidou Centre. Ted Happold was renowned within the field of lightweight and tensile structures. As a result, Buro Happold has undertaken a large number of tensile and other lightweight structures since its founding (including the Millennium Dome). Ted Happold died in 1996, but the firm claims to maintain his views on engineering and life.[6]


Buro Happold was founded on 1 May 1976, with its first office on Gay Street in Bath, United Kingdom.[1] The firm started with eight partners:

The King's Office, Council of Ministers and Majlis Al Shura (KOCOMMAS), Central Government Complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia was the firm's first major design project in 1976.[1] Initially, Buro Happold offered only structural engineering consultancy, with a particular strength in lightweight structures, but in 1977 it added civil engineering and geotechnical engineering and in 1978 building services engineering.[1] In 1982 Buro Happold started to work with Future Tents Ltd (FTL) on a variety of temporary and recreational structures. The firms combined their operations in 1992, but split again in 1997.

In 1983, Buro Happold opened an office in Riyadh, and has since opened offices around the UK and internationally:[1]

View of the Great Court, British Museum, London.

By 1993, Buro Happold had 130 employees and eight partners. In 1998 this had grown to 300 employees and 12 partners, while in 2000 with over 500 employees the partnership was increased to 23.[1] In 2006 the partnership stood at 25 with over 1,400 employees and 14 offices. Due to this growth and the addition of so many different services, the company was restructured in 2003 to consist of multi-disciplinary teams of engineers, each with structural, mechanical and electrical engineers supported by specialist consulting groups.[1]

In 2005, Buro Happold launched Happold Consulting, a management and overseas development consultancy with expertise in the construction sector, and Happold Media, a subsidiary offering graphic design and media development services.

Significant amongst its specialist consultancy services are its fire consultancy group, FEDRA, and software development group SMART which worked with Sheffield University to develop Vulcan software,[7] widely used throughout the fire engineering industry.[8] SMART also develops Buro Happold's in-house software Tensyl, a non-linear finite element analysis and patterning program for fabric structures, and people flow modelling software.[9] Also notable is its group COSA, which undertakes computational modelling and analysis[10][11] and the Sustainability and Alternative Technologies Group.[12]

In 2007 Buro Happold became a limited liability partnership, and in 2008 appointed 18 new partners. In 2018 the practice appointed an additional 13 partners.

Ashford Designer Outlet in Kent, United Kingdom

The firm is a limited liability partnership with 60 partners and 1,700 employees.[13]


Lightweight structuresEdit

Umbrella-like shading canopies inside the Masjid an-Nabawi (Mosque of the Prophet)

In 1973, before the founding of Buro Happold, Edmund Happold, Ian Liddell, Vera Straka, Peter Rice and Michael Dickson established a lightweight structures research laboratory corresponding to Frei Otto's similar research institute at the university of Stuttgart. Ted Happold was the first to introduce ethylenetetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) as a cladding material, and the outcomes of the research carried out by the laboratory led to the development of the designs for the Mannheim Multihall gridshell and a number of landmark fabric structures in the Middle East and the UK, allowing the new building forms to become generally accepted by architects and clients.[9]

Buro Happold's early projects ranged from designing giant fabric umbrellas for Pink Floyd concerts[14] to the Munich Aviary and the Mannheim Multihalle, both with Frei Otto, an architect who repeatedly worked with Buro Happold on projects which pioneered lightweight structures. The Mannheim Multihalle was a timber gridshell of 50 by 50 mm lathes of hemlock of irregular form, depending on the elasticity of spring washers at the joints for its flexible form. It was one of the first major uses of structural gridshells.[9]

The Venezuela Pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hanover, consisting of fabric 'petals' which could open and close according to weather conditions

Following the development of fabric structures expertise on the projects with Frei Otto, Buro Happold was instrumental in further developing the knowledge and technology of fabric structures. With Bodo Rasch, a protégé of Frei Otto, and drawing on experience from the Pink Floyd canopies, they designed folding, umbrella-like canopies to shade the courtyard of Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (The Mosque of the Prophet) in Medina, Saudi Arabia.[15][16][17] They also designed the, at the time, largest fabric canopy in Europe at the Ashford Designer Outlet in the UK.[18]

This development of fabric structures expertise culminated in Buro Happold, with a team led by Ian Liddell, and with Paul Westbury,[19] designing the Millennium Dome, the world's largest fabric roof and the first building of its type.[20] The expertise in wooden gridshell structures has resulted in the design of structures such as the Weald and Downland Museum and the Savill Building in Windsor Great Park.[21][22]

Buro Happold has also completed the designs of a number of cardboard structures, notably the Japan Pavilion for Expo 2000 in Hanover with Shigeru Ban and Frei Otto, consisting of a gridshell of paper tubes (the structure was reinforced with steel in order to comply with fire regulations, though the tubular structure was itself structurally sufficient).[23] The firm has worked with Shigeru Ban on a number of other projects. Another design in cardboard was the Westborough School cardboard classroom in Westcliff.[24]

Notable projects in the UKEdit

UK completed projectsEdit

UK projects in progressEdit

Notable international projectsEdit

International completed projectsEdit

International projects in progressEdit

Other significant activitiesEdit

Buro Happold is best known for providing engineering services for buildings, but it also undertakes a large proportion of its work in civil, geotechnical and environmental engineering, and an increasing amount of overseas development work.

Buro Happold is part of the consortium appointed by EDAW to design the Olympic Park for the London 2012 Olympics.[55] The team which built the Emirates Stadium, made up of McAlpine, Populous and Buro Happold also designed and constructed the Olympic Stadium.[56][57][58]


Notable awardsEdit

The Savill Building at Windsor Great Park

Buro Happold's most recent awards include: ‘Building performance consultancy (over 1000 employees)’ and the 'Energy Efficient Product or Innovation' Award for NewMass, a phase change chilled beam at the 2018 CIBSE Building Performance Awards.

Buro Happold won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for Tuwaiq Palace in Riyadh in 1998 and again in 2010 for the design of the Wadi Hanifah wetlands.[59] Buro Happold also won the Queen's Award for Enterprise twice, for export achievement and again for sustainable development. In 1999 Buro Happold engineers Ian Liddell, Paul Westbury, Dawood Pandor and technician Gary Dagger won the Royal Academy of Engineering's MacRobert Award for their design of the Millennium Dome – only the second time in the award's history that it has gone to a construction project.[60] Buro Happold received the accompanying gold medal.[20]

In 2007, Buro Happold won the IStructE Supreme Award for the Savill Building in Windsor Great Park.[61]

The Aviva Stadium won the 2011 International Project Award at the British Construction Industry Awards. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre won the Project of the Year Award at the 2011 Building Awards. At the 2010 Structural Awards the John Hope Gateway building won the award for Arts or Entertainment Structures. The Institution of Structural Engineers announced there were to be two winners of its coveted Gold Medal in 2012: Buro Happold's then-CEO Paul Westbury was one of them. Paul was selected for the award due to his innovation in the structural form, and design of sports and entertainment buildings; in particular for his leading contribution to the design and construction of Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in London, the 2006 Olympic Speed Skating Oval in Turin, Dublin's Aviva Stadium and the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. Paul has also very successfully promoted structural engineering internationally through his innovative papers on design and technology.

Stirling Prize winning projectsEdit

Buro Happold's projects have won two RIBA Stirling Prizes: the Media Centre at Lord's Cricket Ground in 1999 and the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham in 2001. The Library of Birmingham won the public vote for the Stirling Prize in 2014 and the Evelina Children's Hospital won the public vote in 2006. The following Buro Happold projects have been shortlisted for the Stirling Prize:

The Happold FoundationEdit

The Happold Foundation (formally The Happold Trust) was founded in 1995 by Ted Happold and the other founding partners in order to promote education, research and training in the fields of engineering, industry, design, technology and architecture.[62]

The practice also undertakes pro bono work under its Share our Skills initiative.

See alsoEdit


  • Rappaport, Nina (2007). Support and Resist. London: The Monacelli Press. ISBN 978-1-58093-187-8.
  • Walker, Derek (1998). The Confidence to Build. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-419-24060-8.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "'Timeline'". Buro Happold website.
  2. ^ "People".
  3. ^ "15/16 Annual Review". Burohappold Engineering. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  4. ^ "15/16 Annual Review". Burohappold Engineering. Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  5. ^ "People". BuroHappold. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  6. ^ Sharpe, Dennis (18 January 1996). "OBITUARY: Professor Sir Edmund Happold". Independent. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Sheffield University Enterprises". Sheffield University/Vulcan Solutions. Archived from the original on 6 July 2007.
  8. ^ "Vulcan website".
  9. ^ a b c d Rappaport, Nina (2007). Support and Resist. London: The Monacelli Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-58093-187-8.
  10. ^ Knapp, Graham. "Buro Happold Specialist Consulting". CIBSE. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  11. ^ David Stribling (17 October 2003). "Building simulation: virtual prototyping for construction projects" (PDF). Ingenia Magazine. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 19 December 2007.
  12. ^ "Specialism Sustainability". Borhappold. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  13. ^ "'About BuroHappold'". Buro Happold website. Archived from the original on 21 November 2009.
  14. ^ "Pink Floyd Animals Concert Tour 1977". Stufish. Archived from the original on 24 February 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
  15. ^ "Youtube Video of canopies closing".
  16. ^ "Archnet Gallery of Prophet's Mosque". Archnet. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008.
  17. ^ "Medina's Gallery". Archived from the original on 26 October 2007.
  18. ^ Walker. 1998. p.69
  19. ^ a b Michael Kenward OBE (June 2007). "Ingenia Magazine: An Intuitive Engineer" (PDF) (31). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2007. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  20. ^ a b "MacRobert Award 1999 Winner". Royal Academy of Engineers. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2007.
  21. ^ "Savill Building". Buro Happold. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
  22. ^ "The Savill Gardens Gridshell, Glen Howells Architects". Fourth Door. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  23. ^ "The man with the golden pen. issue 08". Building Magazine. 2005.
  24. ^ "Cardboard classroom". Westborough School. Archived from the original on 3 January 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2006.
  25. ^ "Co-operative Headquarters". Buro Happold. Archived from the original on 4 September 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  26. ^ Ian Liddell (September 2006). "Pitch Perfect" (PDF). Ingenia Magazine. Royal Academy of Engineers (28). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2007.
  27. ^ "Weald and Downland design team". Weald and Downland Museum. Archived from the original on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2007.
  28. ^ Michael Dickson and Richard Harris (February 2004). "The Downland gridshell: Innovative design in timber" (PDF). Ingenia. The Royal Academy of Engineers (18). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  29. ^ "Buro Happold Wins Award". worldarchitecturenews.com. 6 July 2007. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2007.
  30. ^ "The Savill Building". RIBA.
  31. ^ Steve Brown (3 November 2005). "Millennium and Beyond". The Structural Engineer. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  32. ^ Andy Cook (1999). "Salford wins Silver". Building Magazine (29).
  33. ^ "New lake crossing unveiled at Key 16 May 2006" (Press release). Kew Gardens. Archived from the original on 3 January 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  34. ^ "Sackler Crossing". architectural record. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  35. ^ "Winter Garden, Sheffield – Now you see it...". RIBA Journal. January 2003.
  36. ^ Jonathan Glancey (20 September 2005). "The Core, inspired by the code 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 ..." The Guardian. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  37. ^ Peter McCurdy. "The Reconstruction of the Globe Theatre". `McCurdy & Co Ltd. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  38. ^ Arthur Girling (5 June 2006). "CAT and Buro Happold get WISE!" (Press release). Centre for Alternative Technology. Archived from the original on 25 September 2006. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  39. ^ "Museum of Transport, Glasgow". www.glasgowarchitecture.co.uk. Retrieved 5 December 2007.
  40. ^ "Battersea Power Station". Buro Happold. Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  41. ^ Al Faisaliah Centre at Structurae
  42. ^ Suzanne Stephens (July 2005). "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe". Architectural Record. Retrieved 7 December 2007.
  43. ^ Genzyme Headquarters at Structurae
  44. ^ New Copenhagen Opera House at Structurae
  45. ^ Mike Cook, George Keliris (23 January 2007). "Pyramid for Peace in Kazakhstan". The Structural Engineer.
  46. ^ Robert L. Reid (September 2007). "Grand Inspiration". ASCE Magazine. American Society of Civil Engineers. Archived from the original on 22 November 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  47. ^ Thomas Lane (2 February 2007). "Georgious Washington". Building Magazine.
  48. ^ "Project Team Members". Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company. Archived from the original on 25 December 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  49. ^ "HPA Energy Lab". Living Building Challenge. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  50. ^ http://www.rappler.com/business/industries/175-real-estate/63861-fast-facts-iglesia-ni-cristo-philippine-arena
  51. ^ "Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center" Archived 29 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine BuroHappold Engineering website
  52. ^ "Stuttgart 21".
  53. ^ "Grand Museum of Egypt website". Archived from the original on 15 November 2007.
  54. ^ "Transbay Transit Center" Archived 29 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine BuroHappold Engineering website
  55. ^ "Top team chosen to design Olympic Park" (Press release). Olympic Delivery Authority. 24 January 2006. Archived from the original on 8 August 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  56. ^ "ODA negotiates with Team Sir Robert McAlpine on Olympic Stadium" (Press release). Olympic Delivery Authority. 13 October 2006. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
  57. ^ "New Era of Stadium Design Begins with Olympic Stadium" (Press release). Olympic Delivery Authority. 7 November 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  58. ^ "London 2012 web site". Archived from the original on 8 August 2007. Retrieved 1 September 2007.
  59. ^ Jenna M. McKnight: Revealed: Winners of 2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, in the Architectural Record, November 24, 2010, retrieved 1 December 2010
  60. ^ "Millennium Dome shows it's not just a pretty space" (Press release). Royal Academy of Engineering. 25 October 1999. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  61. ^ "Structural Awards website". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011.
  62. ^ "Inspiring Engineering". Happold Foundation. Retrieved 20 September 2017.

External linksEdit