Adhir Imrith is congratulated by Lee-Zane Greyling, director at Arup Durban. Picture: SUPPLIED
Adhir Imrith is congratulated by Lee-Zane Greyling, director at Arup Durban. Picture: SUPPLIED

Thirty-three-year-old Adhir Imrith is one of the lead engineers involved in the development of Park Square, Durban’s much-anticipated new mixed-use development on Umhlanga Ridge.

As an associate at Arup SA, a leading global designing, planning and execution firm in the built environment, Imrith has been at the forefront of innovative design and planning over the past few years.

Imrith grew up in Durban and graduated with a BSc Civil Engineering degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. While completing his degree, he interned at Arup – an experience that changed his life as well as his approach to engineering and design.

In the 11 years after he joined Arup as a graduate, Imrith has been identified as a growing leader, both in the industry and in the firm. He now directs key projects with his own unique vision and drive for innovation.

“At Arup we have a very specific way of embracing our role in the built environment,” says Imrith. “We have a very on-the-ground approach to urbanisation, which means we can see design solutions from all angles, addressing multiple needs. At Arup we refer to this as ‘Total Architecture’.”   

According to Imrith, the concept of ‘Total Architecture’ works hand in hand with the idea of ‘Total Design’. So, how do these concepts interact and ultimately affect the process?

“There is a deliberate collaboration and an added value to the wider team that comes out of a strong emphasis of working closely with both the client and the team,” he says. “Ultimately this level of collaboration creates a better built environment.”

The new Park Square retail development. Picture: SUPPLIED
The new Park Square retail development. Picture: SUPPLIED

A great example of the power of this collaborative approach is Park Square. There was a strong working relationship between the architect, Jarryd Murray of MAP Architects, and Imrith.

“With Park Square Umhlanga, the engineering of the structure was shaped to complement the architectural vision – but at the same time the architecture was shaped to genuinely embrace the structure of the building. The two were very much interlinked,” says Imrith.

He adds: “Park Square’s iconic large spaces and raking columns, though required from a structural point of view, have been beautifully expressed through the architecture and design.”

He adds that one of the greatest but fulfilling engineering challenges to overcome in the design of Park Square was the iconic Nedbank lobby.

“The architectural intent for the lobby was to create a large volume with minimal support. This, coupled with raking slabs, hanging walkways and complex façade interfaces, resulted in two chopstick-like steel raking columns that have become a signature of the building. It is this respect and trust between structural engineer and architect that enables great architecture and design.”

The success of Park Square’s design and development is a consequence of the extraordinary team involved and Imrith’s giant leap from graduate to associate – reflective of the effect he has had on the development sector and Umhlanga Ridge’s sought-after retail and premium commercial development.

This article was paid for by Nedport.