Giving Compass' Take:

HMC Architects explains that socially responsible architectural design involves listening to community needs and creating spaces that address those needs first and foremost. 

How can donors support more schools and public spaces that want socially responsible architecture?

• Read about the organization that is bringing social impact architecture to native communities.

Architectural design involves more than just creating buildings that are beautiful, comfortable, and efficient. The best designs also reflect the intention of architects to create a better world for future generations—purposeful spaces that elevate human dignity and improve the quality of life of users. A lofty goal, indeed, as there are hundreds of decisions to be made on every building project, and striking a balance between what’s best for the client, the users of a space, and the future is no easy task.

Fortunately, more and more clients have an increasing interest in sustainability and humanitarian issues, which gives architects strong allies for prioritizing socially responsible architecture that serves to improve life around the globe.

At HMC Architects, we put a priority on social responsibility. From perfecting designs that improve the functions of civic centers, police and fire stations, and detention and behavioral health facilities to zeroing in on smarter layouts and features for schools, we always look at what we can do to push the envelope with innovation.

We begin with a lot of listening. We hold eco-charrettes with our clients and users of a building to learn the performance and sustainability goals of each. We also learn through community outreach to discover what the community values, who they are, and the problems they experience that we can solve with sensitivity through design.

When we look at the bigger picture and listen to community members rather than just relying on preconceived design notions, we create buildings that are far more functional and user-friendly.

Socially responsible architecture includes designing first and secondary building functions. This better serves a community as a whole, as well as underserved subsets of the community.

Read the full article about socially responsible architecture at HMC Architects.