HCMA’s Innovative Attitude
July 12, 2017
HCMA Architecture + Design is a firm that is looking to the future of design. HCMA wants to make functional and environmental architecture, while also creating buildings that inspire. They strive to push the traditional boundaries of the practice of architecture and achieve maximum positive impact through design while putting in perspective an attractive and magnetic social space that will have lasting communal value to the community around it.
HCMA is also an ethical and transparent business that prioritizes people and the community before profit. The firm recently achieved their JUST certification, a seal issued by the International Living Future Institute that describes a business that operates in a socially just manner. The JUST certification means that HCMA is transparent regarding their operations, how they treat their employees, and where they make financial and community investments. This certification gives them an edge among competitors because the customers are now able to see the good morals and ethics that are so important to HCMA. There are several Canadian businesses with the certification including two more Vancouver businesses: BC Insulators and Integral Group Canada. JUST certification benefits both the employers and employees of the company and gives comfort to the people working with them. The JUST certification is available to any business that wants to be transparent and improve upon their operations.
– improves organizational focus on diversity and inclusion
– provides a third-party framework to measure social equity in the workplace
– offers a roadmap for organizations to improve employee satisfaction and happiness
– shows an organization has a strong multi-cultural and inclusive atmosphere
– evidence of high trust culture
– employees are happy, motivated and strongly connected to organizational purpose and values
Facilitating a Sense of Community
One of the important projects that the firm is taking on is the Granville Island 2040 Land Use Vision. This project aims to re-establish and invigorate the island with new energy, welcome innovation and new ideas, and reinforce the founding vision of Granville Island that embraced creative thinking, art, and innovative ideas. Other goals include ensuring the long-term sustainability of the island – economically, socially, and environmentally. Another project that HCMA started is #MoreAwesomeNow which aims to reshape the laneways of Vancouver into places where people engage in physical activities and socialize. Imagine if instead of laneways being used merely as shortcuts or utility spaces they were a place where the people of the city could interact, gather, and relax in an otherwise stressful city environment. This project changes a previously underused space into a public space that contributes to the vibrancy of the city and adds a welcome element of surprise to the downtown landscape.
HCMA has several rigorous environmental commitments that allow them to market themselves as environmentally friendly and socially conscious of the growing problem of climate change. One of those is their sustainable purchasing policy which supports the purchase of recycled and environmentally preferred products for their office and their architectural projects to minimize environmental impacts while building. Some examples include recycled paper and any other products that can be easily recycled after use, and those products that require fewer harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process. Within the firm, HCMA has an ongoing plan to reduce their environmental impact by supporting their employees adopting better practices. They have multiple policies that aim to reduce paper, energy, and water use. And the firm accommodates employees who bicycle and use public transportation on their commute while also promoting the use of email, phone calls, and video conferencing in replacement of travel.
HCMA is dedicated to promoting and positively influencing the social sustainability of Vancouver through their designs and actions. The firm is a strong believer in inclusive design and strives for maximum positive impact within the community. It has a strong belief in diversifying the profession of architecture and takes pride in having a workforce with 50% women in a male dominated profession. In the built environment, HCMA has been very influential, creating some of the first LEED status buildings in Canada, including the Whistler Library, and the UNBC Bio-Energy Plant. Local HCMA-designed buildings that are worth a visit are the Hillcrest Centre and the UBC Ponderosa Commons, both of which are examples of how HCMA is environmentally friendly and facilitates new social interactions in the city.