When you talk to Narendra Patel, you sometimes forget you’re talking to an architect.
The way he talks about spaces and environments differs from even the most intelligent of dialogs on the subject. That’s likely because Patel, who was born in India and studied architecture at the University of Toronto in Canada, sees his eco-conscious work as “a bridge between nature, culture, histories, and people,” and he believes that inspiring surroundings have a profound positive effect on people’s lives.
He started Patel Architecture Inc. in 1985, focusing on the relationship between artistically conceived dwellings and the landscapes in which they inhabit. The firm “is a place of creation and experimentation,” he says. “We design in a continuous workshop spirit with a multidisciplinary team of architects, engineers, Interior designers, landscape architects, and master planners.”
The firm’s clients range from individuals wanting custom homes to developers planning entire communities to mega companies building a “super block” including a shopping center, hotel, office towers, residential towers, theaters, and sometimes bridges.
“We approach the design process as a personal collaboration with each client. Each project is unique, taking its cue from the client and the site,” says Patel, who also has 25 projects underway in China and maintains offices in Beijing and Milan. “This network, combined with our office in Rancho Mirage, enables us to work efficiently anywhere in the world.” In all, Patel has 35 employees.
Even with projects abroad, he still prefers to come home to Greater Palm Springs. “I had several job offers from many places after my graduation, but I chose Palm Springs, because I was fascinated with modernism,” he says. “I worked for Architect Donald Wexler for many years before I started my own practice.
“I love this desert,” he sums up. “This is my home. This is where I want to live and work, no matter where the projects are. My wife, Valerie Mahabir, has her ballet studio next to my office. We love where we are in Rancho Mirage.”
Some of Patel’s best-known local designs include Henderson Community Center; the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce building; numerous custom homes at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert; and the residential community ALTA in Palm Springs. He’s currently working on five-star hotels in La Quinta and Cathedral City. Elsewhere, he recently completed a large award-winning residential community in Chengdu, China.
VIDEO: Narendra Patel, Owner and Architect, Patel Architecture Inc.