Bhavana “BJ” Patel AIA, LEED AP
Associate Principal / Senior Project Architect
Page Senior Associate and Project Architect Bhavana “BJ” Patel was born and raised in India. There, she watched her father, the son of a modest farmer, work to become a civil engineer and eventually start a successful construction company. As a young girl, BJ decided she wanted to be like him; she set a goal to become the first female general contractor in her city. When the time came to study civil engineering, BJ’s father warned her that as a woman in India, she could face limitations in that field. Instead, he suggested she consider architecture, where he had heard of successful women being recognized and accepted. With her father’s encouragement, BJ successfully earned a Bachelors of Architecture and worked for three years as an architect before moving to the United States.
Subsequently, BJ earned her Masters of Architecture degree at the University of Houston and became licensed to practice in Texas. Part of her graduate studies took place in an international program at the Centre d’Etude d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme, Saintes, France, further exposing her to classical architecture. After working at several other firms, she truly feels at home now at Page. In her initial talks with principal Art Chavez during the interview process, BJ immediately felt understood and valued, and she realized that Page would care about her development as an architect as well as recognize her hard work. While her favorite project to date is confidential, she references it because of its uniqueness, technical challenges, and the many opportunities it provided to learn. “I feel very happy and satisfied every day I learn something new,” she says. Commitment, with sensitivity toward creative ideas, impacts BJ’s work every day. She loves working with her supportive project manager and team members, and feels her confidence grow daily.
BJ works hard, but she also looks for balance outside the office. Lately she’s been absorbed in meditation, breathing exercises and silent retreats. “I think we all learn lots of things through education,” says BJ, “but nobody teaches us how to be happy… I think breathing, meditation and silence teach you techniques to look inward and be happy." She also achieves contentment through giving back to the Indian community as a life member of the American Society of Indian Engineers (ASIE), where she served as a board member in 2011 and secretary in 2012. She volunteers for home tours for the American Institute of Architects and RDA-- organizations that allow her to connect with the architectural world in the United States and beyond. BJ also volunteers for the Komen Race for the Cure in Houston, and has served as a Senior Course Captain for the past several years.
BJ enjoys traveling, long walks, and keeping up to date with Indian cinema, news and music. She believes in accepting life’s circumstances and people as they are, and she strives to live by this word of wisdom: “Do your Karma (work) honestly without thinking of the outcome.” She says her father was right: as a female architect, she received much respect from engineers, contractors and clients in India, which inspired her to advance her career.