flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

HMC Architects sets up a ‘design lab’ to explore new ideas


HMC Architects sets up a ‘design lab’ to explore new ideas

The goal is for project team members to collaborate earlier to inspire innovation.

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | March 17, 2019

Raymond Pan, an award winning archtect and urban planner, is leading the design lab initiative at HMC Architects. Image: HMC Architects

HMC Architects is creating a new, internal, designing model that pushes for earlier interdisciplinary collaboration and deeper integration of processes, technology, materials and systems.

This “design lab” approach is being launched from HMC’S office in Los Angeles. Heading up this effort is Raymond Pan, AIA, LEED AP, Design Principal. Pan is an architect and urban planner with 20 years’ experience. He is rejoining HMC, having previously spent 10 years with the firm.

Pan says that to keep up with the industry’s rapid changes, big firms like HMC need a more collegial approach. One of his goals is to bring builders into the design process sooner. “Our mentality needs to be extended,” Pan tells BD+C. “And architects need to rethink how they design.”

The L.A. office has already assembled a design team that includes an architect who started out as a contractor, and another architect who Pan says is a specialist in spatial visualization. Pan foresees circumstances where HMC partners with other AEC firms for specific expertise. “I would love to have a builder or a [technologist] on my team.” 

Pan notes that a lot of HMC’s work is for hospitals whose designs are taking on more hospitality and commercial retail features that incorporate signage and branding. He talks about “creating a personality” for such spaces that can sometimes be defined by the types of materials chosen for projects.

However, he does not see the design lab concept as being project-driven, per se. “We’re trying to build a culture, and a new architectural aesthetic” that brings in other things, like prefabrication. (His team hasn’t gotten to the point of selecting prefab manufacturers; what’s important, says Pan, is “to get the builders we partner with thinking that way.”

Image: HMC Architects


HMC Architects has six offices in California, and one in Phoenix. Pan couldn’t say yet what the design lab’s rollout strategy would be. “It could start with the next project, or take us a year to find the right partners.” However, he expects that, eventually, the rollout might require some organizational changes within the firm.

“This move will take HMC to a higher level of design and be an undeniable asset to our clients” in the firm’s healthcare, education, and civics practices, says Brian Staton, president and CEO of HMC Architects. Pan is leading this initiative at a time when the firm is capitalizing on significant opportunities in the healthcare sectors in southern California, Oregon, and Arizona.

The design lab is expected to double as an incubation platform for testing new ideas and technologies, he says.



Related Stories

Building Team | May 17, 2022

MKA’s Embodied Carbon Action Plan will include reporting on carbon reductions for selected projects

Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA) recently released its SE 2050 Embodied Carbon Action Plan (ECAP) for 2022.

University Buildings | May 16, 2022

Yale’s newly renovated Schwarzman Center enriches student campus social life

Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) recently unveiled the design of their restoration of the Schwarzman Center at Yale University, which includes dining spaces, a bar, and a food shop.

K-12 Schools | May 16, 2022

Private faculty offices are becoming a thing of the past at all levels of education

Perkins & Will’s recent design projects are using the area to encourage collaboration.

Codes and Standards | May 16, 2022

AIA releases Justice in the Built Environment guide

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently published a new supplementary edition of the Guides for Equitable Practice, titled “Justice in the Built Environment.”

K-12 Schools | May 16, 2022

A Quaker high school in Maryland is the first in the U.S. to get WELL Gold certification

Designed by Stantec, a Quaker high school is the first in the US to receive WELL Gold certification, which recognizes a commitment to occupants’ health and well-being.

Building Team | May 13, 2022

Glass penthouses rise above Toronto’s tree line

In midtown Toronto, the nine-story midrise building Leaside Common has released its Penthouse Collection: two-floor penthouses that take inspiration from Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut.

Market Data | May 12, 2022

Monthly construction input prices increase in April

Construction input prices increased 0.8% in April compared to the previous month, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index data released today.

School Construction | May 11, 2022

New Digital Learning Commons at Rutgers supports doctoral programs in over 16 disciplines

The new Digital Learning Commons at the Rutgers University Archibald S. Alexander Library provides students in over 16 courses of study and four professional schools with spacious collaborative and study space.

Codes and Standards | May 11, 2022

Design firm Populous partners with esports company on digital art NFT collection

Design firm Populous and multidiscipline esports organization Kansas City Pioneers have partnered on a five-part NFT collection.

Multifamily Housing | May 11, 2022

Multifamily Kitchen+Bath Research Study – Take the survey!

MULTIFAMILY Design+Construction is conducting a research study on the use of kitchen and bath products in the $106 billion multifamily construction sector.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021


Magazine Subscription

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.


Follow BD+C: