Bimal Patel Director, HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt. Ltd.
Bimal Patel received a Diploma in Architecture from the School of Architecture, in Ahmedabad (Gujarat) India in 1984. During the six-year period that he studied there, the school provided a rich milieu of architectural thinking and design teaching. During this period he also interned with Prof. Frei Otto in Stuttgart and Prof. Anant Raje in Ahmedabad, and travelled extensively in Europe. His undergraduate thesis explored how industrialization transforms the meaning of architectural ornamentation.
Between 1985 and 1990, he studied, researched and taught across the departments of architecture, urban design, city planning, geography, political science and economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Amongst the many teachers who he studied with, and those who he worked with closely were Prof. Manuel Castells (sociologist), Sir Peter Hall (historian of urban planning), Prof. Donlyn Lyndon (architect) and Prof. Allan Jacobs (urban designer).
Bimal’s graduate thesis for Master’s in Architecture in 1988UC Berkeley, studied formal aspects of Indian Islamic architecture. He also received a Master’s in City Planning after completing a thesis on Gujarat’s Housing Policies. Prof. Richard Walker (geographer) and Prof. Mike Teitz (economist) supervised his doctoral dissertation.The dissertation, titled ‘The Space of Property Capital’, used a Marxist analytical perspective to investigate how architecture is transformed under conditions of capitalist building production.
After returning to India, Bimal joined his father Hasmukh Patel’s architectural practice in Ahmedabad and now heads the multidisciplinary practice.For over thirty years, he has crisscrossed disciplinary, professional and institutional boundaries to explore how architecture, urban design and urban planning can work more effectively to enrich the lives of people living in India’s cities.
Bimal has worked on a wide range of architectural projects. Amongst the most acclaimed of these are: the Entrepreneurship Development Institute which won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1992, the Ahmedabad Management Association which won the World Architecture Award in 2001, and the New Campus for the Indian Institute of Management which extends Louis Kahn’s iconic campus built in the 1960s.
To pursue his interests in working with public agencies and government on urban design and planning,Bimal founded a not-for-profit consultancy, policy research and advocacy organization called Environmental Planning Collaborative (EPC) in 1996. Its innovative approach and nationally recognized work very quickly transformed the landscape of planning and urban design in Gujarat.
Design is solving problems elegantly; making buildings and places that are fit for purpose and appropriate for their contexts.
Bimal’s proposed C G Road Redevelopment in Ahmedabad was a pioneering urban design project of the early nineties. The Surat Walled City Revitalization Plan was awarded the Dubai International ward in 1998. The 2002 Development Plan for Ahmedabad introduced liberal urban planning principles in India for the first time.
His plans for rebuilding Bhuj ensured speedy reconstruction of the city after the 2001 earthquake.The transformative Sabarmati Riverfront Project won the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Urban Planning and Design in 2003 and his Transit Oriented Development Plan for Ahmedabad’s city center showcased by the government as an exemplar ‘Smart City Program’ project. He is presently leading the development of a master plan for reimaging use of five square kilometer of the Mumbai Port Trust’s land along the eastern waterfront of Mumbai’s island city.
Since 2012, Bimal Patel heads his alma mater, CEPT University, as its President. He has been responsible for leading a comprehensive re-imagination, re-invention and modernization of this fifty-year-old institution’s pedagogy, research focus, institutional organization, governance and infrastructure. He also teaches at the University and lectures at various other institutions.
Bimal Patel research work has focused on architecture and urban planning history, land use planning, real estate markets, building regulations, land management. His collaborative research on public land in Indian cities, housing markets and slum redevelopment, published as World Bank working papers, as well as his work on and town planning schemes and land management is widely known and cited.
Focus on clients’ problems without forgetting that, as professionals, we have higher responsibilities to users and society. As in all fields, it is skill, integrity, patience, hard work and taking full responsibility that are rewarded in the long run.