As civic designers, the best part of our job happens after a project is complete—when we learn from our clients the positive impact our spaces have on the public. Our goal at HMC Architects is to design modern, efficient, and beautiful civic spaces that bring people together and address their needs. From fire stations that serve and protect towns to community centers where people of all ages can meet, learn, play, or create —indoors and outdoors—our public space designs help communities flourish.
Civic architecture isn’t only about buildings; it’s about people. Our clients and the people who use the buildings we design are the ones who really make public spaces come alive. We simply create settings that enable them to function efficiently, solve problems, and better engage the public.
Our clients want architecture that cultivates pride in their communities. To meet their needs, we’ve designed a variety of spaces that foster community involvement and help civic organizations better serve the public, including convention and community centers, police and fire stations, state welcome hubs, detention and reentry facilities, memorial plazas, libraries, and non-profits. Through creative architectural solutions, we help our clients overcome many challenges. Here are just a few examples of the problems civic organizations face and how we’ve helped solve them:
Transitioning to more fluid work environments
Modernizing the workspace is new territory for many of our civic clients, so they look to us for twenty-first-century designs. We’ve designed offices with smaller desks and larger collaborative work areas. We’ve also made it easier for employees to work away from their desks by including multi-device docking stations around the office.
Managing financial risk
By partnering with an experienced architectural firm and using a design-build model, civic clients are not only more dialed in to design projects than ever before, they’re also guaranteed project costs. We’ve helped clients ensure that the residents of their communities get true value for their invested tax dollars.
Bringing buildings up to code
Buildings used in civic projects are often historic, dating back to the mid-twentieth century and earlier. We know how to modernize older buildings and bring them up to electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire, and safety codes. We also ensure that their aesthetics and historic integrity are not compromised.
Updating emergency response stations
Police, fire, and emergency operations facilities must keep up with technological and safety advancements, and stay powered during disasters of all types. We design law enforcement facilities and other buildings that help assure quick response times, public safety, and 24/7 operation.
We’ve worked on many amazing projects over the last seven decades. Here are just a few that have pleased our clients.
The Quail Hill Community Center in Irvine, California, needed a design to connect indoor and outdoor spaces and create a gateway to nature for visitors. The center offers many programs to the public, including botanical classes. We helped them by creating four class “zones”: a wellness activity area for exercise, dance, and yoga classes; classrooms for child education and other special-interest learning; a space for art camps and adult art classes; and a conference center that the public can rent for training events, weddings, and other group activities. And we built each of these spaces with sustainability in mind. Today, adults and children learn, play, and explore the community’s natural environment in a new, 19,000-square-foot center.
The popular Welcome Center in Ontario, California, is located in the Ontario Mills shopping mall, which hosts more tourists annually than Disneyland. So, providing visitors with an unforgettable first impression and overall experience is paramount. We designed several inviting spaces, including seating areas with TVs, Wi-Fi, and workstations where visitors can relax or connect to friends and family back home, and interactive kiosks where travelers can make hotel or dining arrangements. We also integrated nature into the center by choosing design elements like faux tree trunks, rocks, and glass etchings that evoke Southern California’s flora and fauna. Now, tourists can plan their visits in a stylish facility that just might make them wish their vacations would never end.
Prisons play a critical role in society. At HMC, we design detention facilities that are unimposing and better promote rehabilitation. For the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in Santee, California, we incorporated a light color palette, soft and varied materials, and natural lighting to make the facility feel more like a campus community and to encourage good mental health. We also improved acoustics to create a quieter, more comfortable environment. The campus is divided into zones connected by a central quad where inmates can socialize and exercise. The cafeteria opens up to a walking path and all outdoor areas are easy to supervise. We designed the facility to help prevent psychological deterioration and recidivism—and we did it by treating inmates like people who deserve to live in a space that encourages well-being.
At HMC, we’ve built our reputation on successful client collaboration and designing for the human experience. By speaking with and listening to civic employees and community members who frequent public buildings, we gather insights that spark creative solutions and new ideas. We not only design architecture that’s in tune with what a community wants and needs, we do it with their input. We’re ready to provide innovative design and outstanding service to your organization. Let us combine our passion with your vision to create a civic building that brings people together and better empowers your employees. To get started, contact us. We can discuss the challenges you face and the new spaces you want to create. Browse the articles below to discover our civic projects and learn more about what we do.