Design is important and good when it elevates utility - function and purpose - to an aesthetic level that reflects creativity, imagination and culture.
We design spaces that provide opportunities to learn. Whether you’re mastering a skill or uncovering something about a friend, interacting with a space should be a comfortable, memorable and inspirational experience.
Design is about more than appearance. It's the experience that unfolds as you walk through a building—the sound of footsteps, the feel of materials, the rhythm of sunlight or pattern, color, and texture—these details matter. When thoughtful elements are woven into a unified whole, the resulting architecture enlightens our senses and enriches our daily lives.
We believe that the alchemy of design can leverage commonplace forms and materials to yield an elegant solution. A successful design connects users to both their place in the building, and their place relative to the outside world; its scale fits and makes sense both to the people using the building and those interacting with its environmental context; and the experience feels both inevitable and surprising.
It is our deeply held belief that design is about people. Good design delights us as individuals and enriches our relationships with others.
The idea of an architect working in isolation to sketch a brilliant design on the back of a napkin is only movie magic. We know that the best buildings are realized when a design team works closely and collaboratively with one another and the community. Buildings with complex uses and goals require creativity, expertise and a tried and true process.
What is the use and purpose of the building? Who are the primary users? Who else spends time in the building—maintenance workers, community members, others? Is the space used during the day, at night, 24/7? Will there be site or use constraints during construction? Is the building in a city, a suburb or rural community? Do users walk, take public transportation or drive to the site? Is the budget generous or limited?
Because every project has a different set of challenges and opportunities, HMFH creates a planning and design process to meet the unique needs of each client. We start by learning the goals, challenges, constraints and aspirations for the space. With a clear understanding of the project, we offer options and ideas that fit the situation and the resources. Then, we listen again and reflect on the feedback we receive, whether it be from the project team or community in which we are working. Guided by openness and patience, as well as expertise and experience, we repeat this process until the design and the client's needs align in a thoughtful and cost-effective solution.
Responsible use of natural resources and conservation has been guiding the design at HMFH since its inception. As stewards for both our clients and of the environment we live in, we ingrain sustainability and resiliency into all our practices. From initial site and solar analysis, to envelope design, systems selection and finish materials, we use our expertise to help our clients make smart decisions that reduce energy, water and waste, and create an environment that supports the health and wellbeing of its users.
Our clients care deeply about the future of our shared environment but are often unsure where to begin and how to make the most effective choices. Through HMFH’s collaborative design process, we engage our clients in defining their project goals and then exploring ways to create innovative, energy-efficient, high-performance buildings that are aligned with those goals.
HMFH’s school designs continue to be recognized for groundbreaking achievements including the first net-positive energy public school in New England; the first public school in Massachusetts to utilize composting toilets along with other strategies to reduce water use by a projected 50% even as enrollment grows by 40%; and one of the state’s largest all-electric, carbon-free public high schools.
We have joined the AIA 2030 Commitment program and its goal of carbon-neutral buildings by the year 2030. Read more about our sustainable practices, and our work towards greater energy-efficiency in the built environment in our AIA 2030 Sustainability Action Plan. After all, every building we design is impacting our future as well.
People are the driving force for all that we do. From the client who sparks the idea of the project, to the design and construction team that propel the project forward, to the end-user who inspires the whole process—these people matter. The most critical element to a project’s success is the ability of these people to work together. That’s where we come in.
Clients choose to work with architects whose creativity, demonstrated success and professional standards closely match their needs and culture. We know that a successful client-architect relationship is at the heart of any quality outcome. We work hard to create an understanding, respect and mutual trust with our partners.
Building long-term relationships with our clients, consultants and construction professionals is rooted strongly in our practice at HMFH. Since 1969, our people have been dedicated to achieving the finest outcomes for our clients. The stability, experience and exceptional creativity of our staff are key to successful working relationships and ultimately to successful projects. People matter.
Learn more, view HMFH staff profiles.