HMC Architects is proud to announce that Joseph Nicola has joined the firm’s higher education practice as principal in charge. Located in HMC’s San Francisco office, Nicola will develop the firm’s Northern California higher education practice and expand the firm’s reach in the market.

“We’re pleased to have Joseph join Northern California’s higher education team,” said Higher Education Practice Leader Ken Salyer. “He has worked on a variety of large-scale university projects and his experience is an incredible asset to our clients and our firm.”

With over 40 years of experience on numerous award-winning and internationally recognized projects, Nicola has overseen the design of large-scale university projects including Stanford University’s Green Library Seismic Reconstruction, CSU Monterey Bay new student housing, and UC Berkeley Law School’s addition and renovation. Nicola graduated from the University of Minnesota with both a Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Environmental Design degrees. He sees architecture as an art and emotional expression; the role of the architect is to develop the shape of the environment and express a feeling about the way people live, work, and play within it.

Nicola believed that higher education architecture is evolving to be more flexible. “The teaching classroom is no longer a rigid set of desks aligned towards a blackboard but, a collaborative teaching environment,” he said. “Our designers and leadership must change with the time, not so much for the sake of change but to lead the conversation and understand how the campus environments are developing now and into the future.”