“Without UKTI’s assistance, it would have been much more difficult for us to get the recognition of Japanese corporate clients”
Arata Oguri, Arup
Britain’s Arup has been instrumental in providing consulting services to the design stages of project to build a new national stadium. The local office of the global firm will serve as the key link between London and Tokyo as it progresses.
“Our team based in the UK assisted Zaha Hadid in winning the international architectural design competition for the main stadium by advising on bowl geometry and building engineering,” said Arata Oguri, deputy office leader in Tokyo and an employee of the company since 1991.
“In Tokyo, we have carried out design services for the Framework phase as a member of the design joint venture with leading Japanese players,” he said.
“We are hoping that the JV team’s involvement in the project will continue over the following phases of Schematic Design, Detailed Design and Site Supervision, which will last until 2019 when the stadium will become one of the venues hosting the Rugby World Cup,” he added.
With some 60 staff in Japan – and around 11,000 worldwide – Arup has been behind some award-winning buildings around the world, including in Tokyo. It can take the credit for the structural and facade engineering of the 20-storey Sony City, as well as being the structural engineer behind the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, which won the award for 2008 Skyscraper of the Year.
And the company has plans to raise its profile further here.
“You may hear that the country’s economy is stagnating or shrinking for various reasons, but it is still huge and our share to date is tiny, leaving a large scope for further business growth,” said Oguri.
The company ensures it stands out from the competition by making the most of its internationally developed specialist skill sets, a global network that reaches most corners of the world and its bilingual and multi-cultural capabilities.
“Our turnover in Japan is a little less than 1% of our total, which may sound negligible,” Oguri said.
“However, our presence in Japan is important in that Japanese players are getting more and more active in the third countries. We have no doubt that our Japan-related business will increase in the future.”
The UK Trade & Investment team at the British Embassy has already played a large part in the firm’s success here and is ready to do so again in the future. The UKTI assistance came in the form of helping Arup host a client event in the grounds of the embassy – which attracted a group of very impressed guests – and put the firm in touch with Japanese business contacts with whom it had no previous links.
The embassy’s introductions were “powerful,” Oguri said.
“Without UKTI’s assistance, it would have been much more difficult for us to get the recognition of Japanese corporate clients,” he added.