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BuroHappold Engineering: outcome-orientated design

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BuroHappold Engineering: outcome-orientated design

Design engineering is as old as humankind. From the beginning, when the human race started making tools, to the industrial revolution, where the inventions of Thomas Savery and James Watt created the foundations for modern mechanical engineering, engineering has always been with us. Today, when environmental and societal pressures have never been greater, we are experiencing a fourth revolution, where technology is part of everyday life and work, creating both disruption and change for the good.

Engineering is best done as a group activity, when diverse talents and intellects come together. Sir Ted Happold knew this when he started his company with a team of eight in Bath, UK on the 1st May, 1976. He was a professor at the University of Bath, and was close friends with renowned architect Frei Otto. Their early project collaborations included Umbrellas for the Pink Floyd 1976 world tour, the Diplomatic Club in Riyadh and the Munich Aviary in Germany.

BuroHappold Engineering is now an international, integrated engineering consultancy operating in 21 locations worldwide, with 60 partners and over 1700 employees including some of the world’s leading consulting engineers. More recent notable and iconic projects include the London 2012 Olympic Park and Olympic Stadium, London; The Aga Khan award-winning Wadi Hanifah Wetlands, Riyadh;The World Towers, Mumbai; and the Louvre, Abu Dhabi.

BuroHappold has a dynamic state-of-the-art studio environment, encouraging and fostering collaboration and innovation. After 40 years in the industry, the practice hasn’t lost its desire to be challenged, its passion for creativity and a sense of adventure. Buro Happold’s journey in India commenced in 2008 at project level leading to opening its office in Mumbai in 2009. Today Mumbai office collaborates worldwide, covering all aspects of engineering and consulting.

Global expertise: the numbers speak for the leader

BuroHappold shapes its reputation by consistently delivering creative, value-led buildings and people-centric design and city solutions, for an ever-changing world. Some of the major issues we are tackling this century include:

  • Rapid urbanization– More and more people are moving to cities across the world, to find work. In the next 30 years, additional 2.4 billion people will inhabit urban environments, and our role as engineers is to make cities sustainable, effective, functional and flexible.
  • People-centered design- Increasingly, planners, designers and architects acknowledge that every building must function for the people who inhabit it, allowing them not only to live and work in comfort, but for the design of the building to promote and accelerate productivity – creating spaces for collaboration, social interaction and well-being.
  • TechnologyData and computational analysis inform the design process of every BuroHappold project. Augmented and virtual reality enables us to experience environments as yet unbuilt. Through our Computational Collective and Hackathons, we seek to keep pace with those who disrupt, seeking ever more effective ways to improve the way the built environment is designed, built and operated. We are investing significantly in developing the skills for all our teams to have the ability to work fluidly with visual programming and computational tools. We remain ahead of the curve, constantly improving and adapting our skills and tools to deliver beyond the brief, every single time. While India’s urbanization offers unprecedented opportunities, it also poses significant policy and organizational challenges. As India experiences a seismic shift in her demography, managing this rapid change effectively will determine the success of India’s future cities.

BuroHappold retains its love for learning, with a diverse, one-practice culture where inclusivity and collaboration is present at every level. We embrace mutual responsibility, and care about our role as an employer and influencer in the shaping of the world, both now and in the future. We foster and nurture courage in every employee, encouraging everyone to explore each project further and with deeper insight.

Revenue

BuroHappold is a practice of experts, split into teams according to their market, sector or specialism. It is instrumental in drastically changing the skyline of Mumbai and its suburbs via our expertise in tall buildings and large and complex building projects. In the Indian marketplace, we are currently focused on commercial, aviation and cultural projects, but other sectors that the practice specializes in include retail, education, science and technology, sports and entertainment and urban development. Within these areas, clients can call on the expertise of experienced engineers specializing in efficient and green design, building performance optimization, intelligent re-use of buildings, inspirational design, integrated design, design for construction fit-out, campus portfolio development, city strategies and planning, value-driven infrastructure and city systems. 

Clientele

BuroHappold deals directly with developers, alongside architects and planners in its project work. Many organizations approach us directly for consultancy advice early in the planning cycle. In India, our key clientele includes some very prestigious names like the Lodha Group, Piramal Realty, Godrej Properties, Birla Realty, Supertech, Omkar Realtors and Developers, D B Realty, L&T, DLF,  Shapoorji Pallonji, Embassy, Radius Developers and NCC.  

BuroHappold’s keydevelopments in India

Lodha Group’s The World Towers Mumbai Situated on the site of the former Shrinivas Cotton Mill, is located on 17-acres of land in the Upper Worli area of Mumbai. What sets The World Towers apart is that one of the four towers will be the tallest residential building in the world. Omkar 1973 Worli is a three-tower project with a heights close to 300 metres located in South Mumbai. Its central tower will become one of the tallest residential buildings in the world. The Park project Located in the Upper Worli region of Mumbai, which is a Lodha Group development will feature six 80 floor, super high-rise towers soaring 280 metres into the city skyline. Godrej BKC, is an energy efficient and highly sustainable office buildingin central Mumbai. Piramal Revanta, is a luxurious high-rise residential project nestled amongst the foothills of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mulund. Lodha Group Clariant consisting of five plots covering approx. 87 acres, having residential and commercial development with approx. 2,000,000 sqm. in Kolshet, Thane. . Piramal Vaikunth is an urban township development in Thane, spread over 32acres of land parcel. Supernova, Sector 94, Noida, is the largest mixed-use development in North India, covering 700,000 square metres. Krrish Square in Colombo, Sri Lanka will be the tallest building of Sri Lanka, with two towers of 280metres and 250metres respectively. Piramal Aranya is luxury residential development with an area of 400,000 sqm comprise of two high rise towers that stretches to 300m in height. And Administrative Towers at New Capital City of Andhra Pradesh, compromise of 5 towers in total with 2 pairs of towers with G+40 floors and signature tower with G+49 floors.

Other key engineering practices in the region include Lera, Walter P. Moore, Thornton Tomasetti, WME, Ramboll and AECOM. 

The essence of BuroHappold in India

Passion, talent mapping, training and career development, engagement, empowerment, innovation, recent Hackademy sessions in the Mumbai office, and living by our BuroHappold Principles 

Our people in India and what drive them to succeed

BuroHappold has been involved in hundreds of projects across the Indian subcontinent. This drive to succeed and grow as an established presence in the region lies with two key BuroHappold leaders, who are passionate about growing and developing our offering to both clients and employees in India. 

Our editorial team spoke to Krishnendu Mukherjee and Anil Hira to find out more about them.

Krishnendu Mukherjee

Regional Director and Engineering Services Leader-India

Krishnendu Mukherjee is an industry veteran with over 28 years of experience in Building Services (MEP) engineering and is currently involved in multiple projects, across various countries, including UAE, France, UK, and India. Krishnendu’s 10-year association with BuroHappold was marked by his appointment asPartner in the global practice in May 2014. His highly specialized technical expertise lies with both mega-projects and high end tall and super-tall buildings. Krishnendu’s extensive MEP experience includes the design of over 30 high rise towers, including fifteen buildings of between 60 and 90 storeys and one 117-storey tower.

This varied experience in all facets of the MEP design and construction process provides Krishnendu with a holistic understanding of the complete MEP design and construction cycle. He is a LEED-USGBC Accredited Professional and always passionately striving to harness the latest technological advances to ensure innovative, economical, buildable and sustainable design solutions for all projects. With his hands-on approach, and clear understanding and respect for different cultures, he looks forward to exchanging knowledge between West and East and expanding the BuroHappold ethos in India.

How do you learn in life and what is your biggest dream?

I learn from retrospection and people around me. My biggest dream externally is to consolidate our position as the leadership premium engineer in India, developing large/tall, complex high-end and iconic projects, and internally, to enable greater value for the wider practice, through internal collaboration. 

What was your journey like to get where you are?

We started our business in India in Mid2008 with a single-digit team and today, in 2018, we are 120 strong. Our current annual turnover in India is 45 crore INR. We deliver many prestigious and iconic projects, successfully. There are always many challenges. However, we always work as a team, and address all issues adequately and appropriately, and move forward.

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Tell us how you’ve approached change and give us some advice for young entrepreneurs.

Change is permanent and inevitable, for growth. I am always positive and flexible in embracing change if it is good for growth. Keep chasing your dream or goal. Stay positive and calm. Never give up.

What are the challenges that your company currently faces?

Financial pressures have accelerated the pace of consolidation in engineering and construction. Bigger entities have to find a way to increase value, not just lower costs, leading to more standardized and less creative solutions. While other industries have integrated and reinvented themselves around technology, our industry has not fully embraced this inevitability. There are exceptions of course, but generally, we have not fully recognized the disruptive aspects of technology. 

Anil Hira

Director, Partner, Project Principal

Anil Hira, an ethnic Gujarati and New Zealander is an academic at heart. After graduating in civil engineering from the University of Canterbury, NZ with first class honours, specializing in structures, he followed up with a Master’s degree in Auckland University in soil structural interaction and earthquake engineering. Anil began his career in Australia in the 1980s capitalizing on his interest in structural dynamics and computer applications. The decade’s tall building boom in Australia helped him develop expertise in all aspects of tall building design while working on several 200+ metre-high buildings in Australia and South East Asia..

Anil is a strong advocate of passing on knowledge to the new generation of engineers.Anil is passionate about engineering and treats it as an art as well as a science. He enjoys working collaboratively with architects, contractors, and consultants on projects which are cost effective and are seen as a success by the owner, the users, and just as importantly, the community

He took up an academic position with the University of Melbourne for a period of 5 years developing courses on Tall Building Design for undergraduates and postgraduates as well as developing courses for practicing engineers which he delivered throughout the world. During this period he also consulted on numerous tall building projects for many consulting engineering firms.

As a tall buildings expert, in 2004 Anil headed an international consulting operation heading offices in Melbourne and Dubai, working on numerous tall building projects in Australia and Middle East including being the design director for the 1 km high Nakheel Tall Tower.

Anil joined BuroHappold after 25 years of consulting experience, primarily in Australia and the Middle East, working on major projects across 15 countries. In 2011 Anil moved to Mumbai as Regional Director to lead BuroHappold’s India operations, positioning the practice for the region’s extraordinary development and growth opportunities in infrastructure and the built environment.

How do you learn in your life and what is your biggest dream?

In the consulting engineering world, learning and then its application is the key to ultimate success. I attribute my success to two key factors, first is the passion as it drives one to be creative and adventurous. Secondly, the ability to listen and learn from peers and associated stakeholders. In our profession, it is imperative that not only we learn from peers but also from younger professionals who have a greater grasp of the latest tools available to us. I have to say that I have fulfilled my greatest dream of designing a super tall building many years ago and for the past 20+ years. I treat each new project as a challenge and a dream with the hope to complete it successfully.

Tell us about when you failed. How did you overcome?

Fortunately, I have never failed in professional life, though personally, it happened once. That failure involved me entering a business with other partners, of which I had very little knowledge. However, this failure made me a lot stronger. Due to the huge financial stakes in consulting engineering, there is always a chance of letting clients and stakeholders down. It is never smooth sailing. The key is to recognize when our services are going off track and then to redress the issues. The key to our work is collaboration and team effort. Communication skills, respect for each other’s contribution, meeting deadlines, grasping technological advances, innovation and being a team player are just some of the key characteristics that characterize a technically competent and confident engineer.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next year?

It is business as usual, building on knowledge from the past to be better for the next challenging project. Winning the right to design the next challenge for a client is always a challenge for engineering consultants. Once we get that, the bigger challenge is to deliver the design.

What was your journey like to get where you are?

It has been a 40-year-long rewarding journey traversing the world following the building boom. My passion for tall buildings originates from my native country of New Zealand where seismic conditions prevail, and aspects of the structural behavior of multi-story buildings under severe seismic loadings dominate. After completing my postgrad studies, I moved to Australia. The privileged position of my New Zealand undergrad and postgrad training helped me become an industry leader of tall building design by getting involved in many tall buildings in Melbourne and Sydney. This included interacting with Wind Engineers and soil-structural interaction to derive foundation solutions for a tall building.

With Australian consulting practices becoming active in Asia, my experience extended into the tiger economies of South East Asia including Singapore, Indonesia and later into China and Hong Kong. During this period I also carried out consulting services as a designer and expert adviser for many more tall buildings and complex structures. After spending seven years in Dubai, I came across an opportunity to join one of the most exciting and progressive consulting practices in the world, BuroHappold Engineering as Partner and Director. It was fantastic to join a practice in a country where many tall buildings has just commenced and to work in the country of my ancestors. The past eight years has been full of adventure, working on some of the most iconic projects and positively contributing to the country’s economic development. It has been an exciting journey full of surprises and adventure and hopefully I have contributed to making it a better place for that community.

Tell me how you’ve approached change.

Going with the flow has been my philosophy in life. I have always enjoyed challenges, and one of them is adaptability.  The quicker one accepts a different culture, food, and environment, the better. Once after successfully adapting to the environment, the journey becomes exciting, as one gets the chance to learn both the simple and intricate challenges of business cultural sensitivities. I have experienced a wealth of global knowledge, while freely pursuing my passion for engineering.

What was the most difficult lesson you have learned as an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur, one always thinks you are incorrigible. However as we all know, we are not perfect and we can make mistakes. I suggest that the most difficult lesson I have learned is to accept failures and get over it quickly, and to turn the failure into a success.

What advice can you give entrepreneurs who want to venture into the same domain in the future?

I recall when I was a Scout; their motto was “Be prepared.” Understand your limitations and then push that limit to its maximum with an underlining theme of passion, enjoyment, honesty, healthy ego, dedication and contribution to society in general. As engineers, we do need to think about the three pillars of sustainability; economics, environment, and society. 

The road ahead

Our work is becoming even more exciting as we increasingly realize the future potential is in computational design and digital engineering. In a space where we are among the leaders in our field, we apply expertise to challenges few can overcome, and technology is at the heart of that.

One of our mottos is ‘making the project the best it can be’, and it is through the constant collection, analysis and use of project data that allows us to transform and elevate a design. Combine the use of data, computational analysis and human behavior studies, and we authentically deliver transformational outcomes for clients, users and the environment.

BuroHappold plans to build on its success in delivering success at every level. We believe in collaboration, diversification, and growth as the primary parameters for holistic success. Our Partners will continue to strive for excellence, with a dedication to our people through recruitment, reward, retention and development, as well as diversification across geographic areas, sectors, and specialisms across India and the globe.

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