Shirish B. Patel

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Shirish PatelShirish B. Patel serves as a member on the IIHS board.

Shirish graduated in Mechanical Sciences – M A (Hons) from the University of Cambridge (1951-1954).
He is a Fellow at the Institution of Engineers, India, Institution of Civil Engineers(London) and the American Concrete Institute.

Career Highlights

Shirish B. Patel is a civil engineer with interests that extend to the engineering design of public works, notably dams, bridges, and marine structures; urban planning, and urban affairs; planning of factories, and other complexes that benefit from an inter-disciplinary approach; solar energy and energy conservation research; and software development.

Shirish has been deeply involved in the setting up of the IIHS. He is, at present, an honorary professor at the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai. He is also a member of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee, and a governor on the board of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Heritage Conservation Society. He writes on urban affairs and engages with the government on urban policy.

Shirish is Chairman Emeritus of Shirish Patel & Associates (SPA) which he founded in 1960. It is now almost entirely owned by SPA Education Foundation, a non-profit Section 25 Company, which spends the dividends it receives from the consultancy company on primary education and rural health care in backward areas. Now numbering about hundred, the entire staff has a profit-share in the company of 50% of post-tax earnings.

Shirish’s professional affiliations include:

  • Member, Consulting Engineers Association (India)
  • Member, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Member, International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering
  • Ex-Member, Association for Computer Machinery
  • Associate Member, International Association for Shell & Spatial Structures

Shirish is the founder director of Housing Development Finance Corporation (1977). He is also a member of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Heritage Conservation Committee (2003). For thirteen years, he served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Mumbai Metropolitan Development Authority which is responsible for planning the metropolitan region around Bombay (1983-1996). In addition, he was a member of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (1996-1999 & 2005-2008) and the founder chairman of the Indian Federation Against Software Theft (InFAST, 1992). It was during his tenure as chairperson that a legislation which makes use of illegal software for gain a criminal offence, was passed. Shirish has memberships to numerous government of Maharashtra/ government of India committees like Mumbai flooding, etc.

As an engineer, Shirish worked with Coyne & Bellier on Kariba dam, Zambezi river (1955-1956) and on the Koyna dam in the planning, design and supervision of all temporary works, including cable crane foundations (1956-1958). He then worked as chief civil engineer of Calico Mills, Mumbai, where he was in charge of planning, design and construction supervision of two new chemical factories (1958-1960). In 1960, Shirish founded Shirish Patel & Associates (SPA) which grew to become one of India’s leading civil, structural and project management firms specialising in the construction of multi-storeyed buildings, bridges, elevated railway track, railway stations, hydraulic & marine structures, hotels and industrial structures. Shirish was the principal designer for Kemp’s Corner flyover, Bombay; the first flyover in India, built in six months. In addition, Shirish was also the principal designer for a complex of several 27-storeyed buildings at Petit Hall, Bombay.

He was one of the three original authors of a plan to develop New Bombay across the harbour, using ownership of land acquired by government to finance the infrastructure and construction of the new city. In 1970, the government accepted the proposal for New Bombay and set up City & Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO). Shirish co-ordinated and led the work of a multi-disciplinary team consisting of economists, sociologists, operations research people, transportation and city planners, architects and engineers, as well as the construction team for New Bombay (1970-1974).

Shirish undertook a six year long project (1975-1980) in the set up of two not-for-profit Trusts, Land Institute (LI) and Land Research Institute (LRI). These undertook training of matriculates in simple civil engineering skills to improve agriculture, applying these to work of land-shaping and lift irrigation.

Shirish, along with Piloo Mody as the architect, conceived the basic structural form of the Larsen and Toubro’s ECC Administration Building, Chennai. It won an award from Fédération Internationale de la Précontrainte (FIP) in 1994 for excellence in engineering design. No other company in India has yet won this award. Shirish was an active member of the design team for the L&T Hydraulic Excavator Factory, Bangalore, an almost fully precast factory building (1981-1982).

He was also an active member of the design team for Hindustan Aeronautics Limted, Bengaluru. The team developed the solution of constructing the structural steel stressed-skin roof on the ground, and then lifting it into position using ordinary truck jacks mounted on top of each column (1980-1981).

Shirish prepared the Development Plan for the southern 4,000 hectares of the Vasai-Virar region, collaborating with Rahul Mehrotra. In particular, he prepared a scheme for making the project self-financing (1992). He designed the structure supporting the sun-screen at the Indian Habitat Centre , New Delhi and was also the principal designer for the layout and concept of Juinagar RCC Foot-bridge, Navi Mumbai which won first prizes from the Indian Institution of Bridge Engineers and the Maharashtra Chapter of the American Concrete Institute (1998).

Awards & Recognition

Fellow, Institution of Engineers, India Fellow, Institute of Civil Engineers Fellow, American Concrete Institute.

Areas of Interest

Shirish has had a long and sustained interest in urban affairs. He was one of the three authors who originally suggested the New Bombay project in 1965. In 1970, when the Government of Maharashtra accepted the project and set up CIDCO, the new town authority, he was made the Director of Planning and Works.

Having retired from the consultancy firm he founded (he plays the role of Chairman-Emeritus at SPA), he now devotes his time to work on urban development and urban affairs. A civil engineer at heart, his interests extend to:

  • Engineering design of public works, notably dams, bridges, and marine structures
  • Urban planning and urban affairs
  • Planning of factories and other complexes that benefit from an inter-disciplinary approach
  • Solar energy research
  • Software development
Patents & Inventions

Shirish designed and supervised an origin-destination survey of bus passengers called the Bus routing study, Mumbai. Based on the findings and a mathematical model developed to simulate bus travel, he wrote a program to optimise the bus routing system in the city and for invention of new routes. Without increasing the bus fleet, the new routing system would cut passenger waiting times in bus queues by a third (1968).

An improved, convenient-to-use and more efficient solar cooker was invented by Shirish and about 1,000 pieces sold without subsidy, on a no-profit no-loss basis. The project was shelved when Government decided to heavily subsidise kerosene and cooking gas. It was subsequently revived at the request of Women for Sustainable Development, Nairobi, Kenya.

Further work in collaboration with the Institute of Chemical Technology has resulted in the development of a cooking system that saves 75% of the fuel that would otherwise be consumed in conventional-style cooking. A manufacturer has recently taken up large-scale production of what is called the EcoCooker. (1980 to date)

Shirish invented and patented Roof Skylights as a brighter, cheaper and easier-to-maintain substitute for Northlights. They have been extensively used since in SPA’s factory designs. (Indian Patent No 168718 of 18 August 1989)


Why the World Bank is wrong, March, 2013

Patel, S. B. (2013). Life between Buildings: The Use and Abuse of FSI. Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 48 No. 6 p. 68-74

“Analyzing Urban Layouts – Can high density be achieved with good living conditions?”, Environment and Urbanisation, to be published in their forthcoming issue (Autumn 2011).

Fourth ICI – Dr. M Ramaiah Endowment Lecture on Quality in Concrete Construction, November, 2000.

Keynote Address, Tata Institute of Social Sciences Seminar on Slums, January, 2006.

Opening Address, Tata Institute of Social Sciences Habitat School, Inaugural Seminar, November, 2009.

“Recovering from Earthquakes: Response, Reconstruction and Impact Mitigation in India”, Shirish and Aromar (Eds.), Routledge, New Delhi and London, 2010.

“Dharavi: Makeover or Takeover?”, Economic & Political Weekly, June, 2010 .