Amol Acharya Tales

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Your College Name & Place:
Visvesvaraya National Institute Of Technology, Nagpur
Total Years of Experience: 25+ years
Your Idol / Mentor: There are many good engineers who mentored me, but I would like to mention Viral Patel from Walter P Moore along with Abhijit Shah.
Your mantra for success: If you can’t explain a concept in simple words then you don’t understand the concept at all

Talking About Life’s Engineering Saga. ‘TALES’ is a segment that exclusively focuses on the top Project/Structural Consultants across the globe sharing their engineering journey in their own words.

He is celebrating his silver jubilee as an industry professional but his enthusiasm & zeal is still fresh… he is a master of his field & has left his mark in the form of amazing structures across the globe…

Here’s Amol Acharya, Head of Structural Engineer, Walter P. Moore giving us a peak into his thoughts…

What inspired you to take up engineering as a profession?
Engineering has always been a part of my family legacy, with many of my close family members pursuing careers in the field. It felt natural for me to follow in their footsteps and pursue a career in engineering.

How was your learning curve from a student to a pro today?
My journey as an engineer has been quite fulfilling. Starting my career from site execution and gradually moving up to more complex tasks has helped me understand the technicalities of the field better. The recent project that I worked on, the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium, was particularly challenging and helped me learn a lot. Despite the challenges, I have enjoyed every step of my journey and am always eager to learn more.

What are the various challenges that you face as a structural consultant in India?
One of the biggest challenges that I face as a structural consultant in India is the issue of fees. It can be difficult to negotiate reasonable fees for projects, which can make it challenging to sustain a profitable business. Additionally, there is a lack of adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology in the Indian construction industry. While BIM can help improve project efficiency and reduce errors, many Indian construction projects still rely on traditional design methods. In contrast, during my work on a large hospital building project in London, I saw firsthand how BIM was used to model every detail of the project, resulting in improved project outcomes.

If you can change one thing in our construction practices in India, what would that change be?
If I could change one thing in our construction practices in India, it would be to prioritize the adoption of modern technology like BIM, digital workflows/processes and 3D printing. I believe that leveraging these technologies can help us improve project efficiency, reduce errors, and ultimately improve the quality of our work. Additionally, there needs to be more openness to using higher-grade materials and adapting to changing technology. I think that this shift is necessary to meet the demands of the modern construction industry and improve the overall quality of construction in India.

How do you see the adoption of the rolled section in the Indian construction community?
I believe that the adoption of rolled sections in the Indian construction community has been steadily increasing and will continue to do so in the future. In fact, I predict that in the near future, nearly half of all building constructions will resort to structural steel as a material of choice, particularly for commercial buildings. I see a substantial impact and penetration of steel in the construction industry in the years to come.

How has your relationship with steel been?
My relationship with steel started with a design competition for an exhibition in Pune. It was a tensile membrane structure with tubular sections and cables. At that time, I did not fully appreciate the significance of non-linear behavior of the material and the structure. However, over the past 25 years, my relationship with steel has solidified, especially with my recent project, the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium which also happens to be a Tensile membrane structure. Through this project, I have gained a deep understanding of the material non-linearity, how we can cover large spans with sleek and aesthetical framework and the complex erection process of a tensile steel structure. Overall, my relationship with steel has grown stronger over the years, and I continue to be fascinated by its versatility and strength in construction.

Which is your best work in steel so far and why is it so special?
The largest cricket stadium in the world, the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium, is my favorite steel project due to its unique characteristics. With a seating capacity of over 100,000 people, it is an exceptional example of a tensile membrane structure. The cantilever roof has a span of 30 meters and consists of an inner tension ring pulled outwards by cables attached to an outer compression truss. The PTFE membrane is also supported by these cables. The entire structure is supported by V-shaped columns that are approximately 35 meters tall. Despite the complexity of the design and construction, the stadium’s sleek and simple appearance makes it a remarkable achievement.

Which international steel project truly inspires you for its structural elegancy and why?
The Empire State Building in New York, constructed around 1930, is one of the international structures that I deeply admire. I recall seeing the iconic image of construction workers leisurely sitting on a steel beam, swinging their feet in the air. Looking back, that image may have been a significant inspiration for me. Another notable structure that has always fascinated me is the Astro Dome in Houston, spanning a diameter of about 600 feet, equivalent to that of a football stadium. It was designed by Walter P. Moore, and I had the opportunity to meet one of the veteran engineers who has also worked on this iconic structure. The Astro Dome holds a special place in my heart and that of the company, with numerous tales surrounding it, such as the origin of AstroTurf technology.

How do you update and upgrade yourself with the changing times?
To stay up-to-date with the changing times, I take inspiration from the new generation of engineers who bring in fresh perspectives, new technologies, and innovative ideas. I believe in embracing and adapting to the changes they bring, not just in terms of materials but also in technology. Attending conferences, events, and summits such as SCS also helps me learn about the latest advancements in the field. Continuous learning, being open to new ideas and approaches is vital in staying competitive in today’s fast-changing engineering landscape.