Amol Prabhu Believes In Being Committed To Technology Along With Current Trends
Amol Prabhu Believes In Being Committed To Technology Along With Current Trends
After graduating in Engineering from University of Bombay in 1991 and a one-year internship at Shashi Prabhu & Associates, Amol was admitted to the Cornell University, a reputed Ivy League university in Upstate New York. In 1993, he worked with Bovis Lend Lease as their Project Manager in NY office. During this next seven years at Bovis he had the opportunity to work on numerous prestigious projects, the $550 million Millennium Place – a mixed use 40 storey twin tower building in downtown Boston with a 10-theatre multiplex. A 45,000 sqft fitness center and the luxury Ritz Carlton Hotel; The $300 million Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Research Center in Buffalo NY – one of America’s leading & largest cancer research hospitals accommodating over 500 beds with its own research facility and a $100 million photonic manufacturing facility for Corning in NY.
He managed the construction of $150 million “131 Dartmouth Street” development in downtown Boston. The project received the Excellence award for design and construction. After working with Suffolk for 4 years, Amol joined Eastern Contractors, Inc, one of Boston’s leading General Contracting and Project Management company , as a Vice President (Project Operations), where he was responsible for leading numerous construction project and a work force of roughly 400 people. At Eastern, Amol oversaw the construction of roughly $800 million of project in K-12 education sector throughout Massachusetts.
In 2005, Amol returned to India to join Shashi Prabhu & Associates as one of the four partners of the firm. He brings over 22 years of experience in managing projects using structured and scientific approach especially essential for managing mission critical & time-sensitive projects. Shashi Prabhu & Associates provide design, engineering and management services to over Rs 2200 cr worth of simultaneously running projects in India. At Shashi Prabhu & Associates, Amol has also been actively involved in reorganising the company structure and setting up standardisation platforms in design, management and financials to expand the firm into a professional entity capable of providing broad spectrum of services right from Architecture, Interior Design, Engineering and Project Management Consulting services. Shashi Prabhu & Associates is now able to cater to a wide variety of clients in Sports, Healthcare, Hospitality, Infrastructure and other sectors without sacrificing the quality and efficiency of service. Currently, Amol is currently pursuing the Masters of Architecture degree from BAC. He speaks to Fortunestreets.com about his journey and road ahead
As an independent architect, which was your first project, how was your experience working on it? Tell us more about the same.
The first noteworthy project was Wankhede stadium where the journey had just started. Designing Wankhede Stadium was a major challenge for me as at that time, I was very young in the industry and I had to complete this mammoth project in less than 12 months. It was a challenge taken by Mr Wankhede and his team of Bombay Cricket Association who created the facility for cricket test matches, which was then scheduled in January 1975.
Project involved demolishing and reconstructing two existing stands of the stadium, and then modernizing the remaining portions of the stadium by providing better amenities to viewers, players, commentators, press and other users. A new roof was added to the entire stadium, which involved eliminating all columns of the stadium by creating a structural compression ring. Care was taken while planning to ensure safety of players by segregating the entries.
Besides Recreational, Intuitional, Healthcare segments, what new projects are you currently working on?
Affordable housing. We are developing an affordable housing for 10,000 police constables that is going to be part of Integrated Township Project followed by the Urban Design Guidelines for the Sustainable and Livable design approach.
Recreational, Institutional, Healthcare were such sector where many had second thoughts working on initially; how successful Shashi Prabhu & Associates have been setting a trend for the rest to follow?
After the successful completion of Wankhede Stadium in 1974, we started receiving more projects specific to stadiums and sports complexes. While we successfully executed numerous projects in this sector, I was looking forward to expanding my horizon by undertaking challenging projects in other segments as well. Alike sports complexes, I was equally passionate about healthcare. Healthcare Planning, like sports architecture, is a technically specific field, which depends highly on flowcharts and operating procedures. Not only was I lucky at that time to be able to attend numerous international study tours in USA and the USSR. I was able to evaluate and understand healthcare practices and planning in developed nations. I was also fortunate to have received my first project in the healthcare sector which dealt with building a 700 bed multi-specialty hospital for Thane Municipal Corporation, which we planned on a Spine & Pavilion architecture. Though the design appeared to be quite simplistic, the unique configuration of the spines and the pavilions allowed for ease of connectivity between various departments such as consulting & diagnostic OPDs, Radiology & Pathology Lab, Surgical Suites, etc. The pavilions on either side comprised of Recovery Wards including wards for patients suffering from burn injuries along with ancillary support facilities, etc. Subsequently, I ended up designing four other large multi-specialty hospitals at Pimpri, Pune and Mumbai, each accommodating 750 beds.
Projects such as Wankhede Stadium, which was utilised, as a venue for Wold Cup Final, The Indoor Stadium at National Sports Club of India is currently one of the leading cultural and sports venues in Mumbai City. The Balewadi Sports City that is the largest integrated sports city in Maharashtra was used as a venue to host the youth Commonwealth Games, have made not only national but also international presence.
Today, our office is working on variety of projects in sports, healthcare, hospitality, infrastructure, housing and other sectors. We are currently working on modernising 13 State Transport bus depots for MSRTC, Upgrading and Renovating the designing 10,000 unit township for Maharashtra Police at Panvel, a Grand Memorial for Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar at Shivaji Park, Five major tertiary care hospitals in Mumbai, Five major hospitals in Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, and host of other projects around the country.
Because its time consuming and critical in terms of designing and planning.
According to you, what measures should be to taken for young generation these sectors as popular as residential or commercial?
I would say, the change should start from the foundation i.e. Architecture Schools. Off lately, it has been seen that students who pursue Architecture as a stream are not well versed with the curriculum and are clueless about their own future. Besides, it is very important to have a qualified faculty in colleges who possess knowledge both practical and theoretical, especially of current trends in architecture and construction detailing. The current trend is all about dealing with architectural engineering where engineering support is continuously required to meet challenges.
Global influence is indeed influencing Indian architecture in a huge way, your views on the same. Is it good or bad? How has it affected your firm practices?
Architecture is changing greatly. Global influence is indeed impacting in a huge way, for good and bad. Greater focus on Aesthetics and sometimes at the cost of safety and functionality, clients are getting demanding due to the increase of their exposure, designers are experimenting a lot more now than before, more variety of materials available and used – but sometimes, incorrectly used for the sake of using.
Your views on technological innovations and use of recycled material, how has the firm incorporated this in the projects done previously and upcoming ones?
Today, a host of resource conserving ideas are available in the market such as sensors automatically shutting down, energy consuming devices during inactivity, heat exchangers converting lost heat from air-conditioning systems into hot water, energy saving LED lights, geothermal plants using ground water for air-conditioning Systems, sewer treatment plants converting raw sewer into grey water usable for landscaping and AC Systems, etc. Even when developers choose not to adopt the intensive Energy Saving Rating Certifications for their buildings, they could adopt any combination of the energy saving components thereby supporting their contribution to a greener planet. After all, it goes without saying that “One small step for man could possibly be a giant step for mankind in the future”.
Our primary goal has always been to create high quality sustainable assets, which meet the strategic business and financial objectives of our clients. In order to achieve this goal, we employ the best available talent, who are truly our assets. They work closely with our clients and use wide range of skills and industry experience. We utilize technology to its fullest while executing all our work. Every project we do we try to infuse green aspects into it. Nevertheless, whether our client decides to go green or not, we focus on convincing the clients to incorporate green elements in the design because it will benefit them in the long term and I believe one should be looking after our environment.
Tell us about your current projects; upcoming and under development and in what sectors? What are your suggestions for the upcoming generation taking up this profession?
Upcoming projects of SPA: Construction of Grand Memorial for Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Being done in jv with Design Associates of Delhi. Construction of 600 bed tertiary hospital for MCGM at Borivali: The project will involve demolition of the existing Bhagwati hospital and construction of a brand new 500 bed multi-specialty hospital in its place. The project, once completed, will have 60 OPD’s, 12 Operation Theatres, 90 ICU beds, 10 casualty beds, 215 general beds and 52 special beds. There will be a burns and dialysis ward. The diagnostics will house latest 1x MRI, 2x CT Scan, 2x USG, BMD and Mammography. Our role will be Architecture, Interior and Project Management.
Construction of 500 bed tertiary hospital for MCGM at Govandi: The project will involve construction of a brand new 580 bed super specialty hospital. The project, once completed, will have 50 OPD’s, 13 Operation Theatres, 105 ICU beds, 10 casualty beds, 215 general beds, 90 special beds, 30 Chemotherapy beds, 10 burns beds and 10 dialysis beds. The diagnostics will house 1x MRI, 2x CT Scan, X-Ray, Mammography and BMD. Our role will be Architecture, Interior and Project Management.
Construction of a Sports Complex for Willingdon Sports Club: This 50,000 sqft complex will house international level badminton courts, 6 flexible modular squash courts, Indoor Games and Gymnasium atop a 100 car underground parking.
Construction of Topiwala Market at Goregaon: The project involves construction of a multi-storey, mixed use market complex which will house a basement car parking structure, a market on Ground and 1st Floor, A 500 seater auditorium on the 2nd floor and residential tower for MCGM employees on the upper floors.
Development of a hill station between Pune and Mumbai: This hill station, spanning roughly 1600 acres, is expected to house residential township, educational development and development in entertainment and sports sector, SPA’s role is master planning and infrastructure planning.
Reconstruction of MLA housing at Nariman Point, Mumbai: The project involves demolition of all existing buildings of MLA housing and reconstructing iconic 65 storey tower that would house the residential units of all Maharashtra MLA’s. SPA’s role is Architecture and Interior Design.
Construction of Auditorium, Mess, Canteen and Library at Symbiosis Indore: The project involves construction of a multi-storey, mixed use market complex which will house a basement car parking structure, a market on ground and 1st floor, A 500 seater auditorium on the 2nd floor and residential tower for MCGM employees on the upper floors.
For upcoming generation taking up this profession,
Keep an open mind. Learn new things every day. Honesty and Ethics pays in the long run.
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