William Hendrix, AIA, LEED AP, is an Architect, Urbanist and Principal in HGA’s Corporate Studio in Washington, DC. His 32-year career has focused on mixed-use, urban-centric projects nationally and internationally. He currently is working on a Performing Arts Center that is part of a mixed-use Master Plan outside DC. Here, he talks about changes impacting the workplace.
What do you like best about your job?
What I enjoy most as an architect, designer and urbanist is being able to work at many scales and integrate academic and practice experience. Though most of my work has focused on large-scale corporate projects, I have been fortunate to have designed “one of everything,” from corporate headquarters to residential, cultural, healthcare, and government projects. What is really rewarding working at HGA is collaborating with the expansive and diverse expertise across the firm. I have found this collaborative environment helps HGA coalesce an impressive knowledge bank to focus on complex projects and create unique and impactful solutions for clients.
What are opportunities for workplace culture today?
There are profound and exciting changes happening in the current and future workforce. One of the most fascinating and challenging trends is a movement toward a more human-centered authentic experience at every scale.
What this means in the workplace is work that matters, an environment that espouses a meaningful corporate brand, integrates work/live/culture lifestyle, supports diverse/multigenerational teams, and utilizes appropriate, convenient technology. The workplace of tomorrow will be an even more flexible diversity of spaces and places. It will be very exciting to engage in these transformations.
How do you help clients innovate, grow, and thrive?
Not all innovative companies are equal, so one solution to all is not the best recipe. Yet the goal to attract and retain the best talent is certainly a universal aspiration for all companies.
To create a successful project, we must be a resourceful advocate for harnessing cultural and social change driving innovative workplace design. We must really listen and learn to align our design thinking at HGA around our research, engagement, understanding and observation of our clients’ mission, brand, and goals. For me, this is the most important part of creating successful, impactful projects that allow companies to innovate, grow, and thrive.
What is the ideal project?
I am most intrigued by urban-centric, mixed-use projects because they integrate a diversity of uses (office, residential, retail, and cultural, etc.) into an independent, human-focused community. The fascinating part of these projects is the design of interstitial spaces between the different building types as places where interesting interaction occurs.
For instance, a project on the boards right now is a center for the performing arts for a longstanding corporate client. It is the cultural center of a 26-acre, mixed-use urban corporate headquarters. A large performance hall, black box theatre and associated meeting and reception spaces are integrated into a compact community of high-rise buildings. The unique challenge is designing a symbiotic dialogue between a cultural center and buildings of different and diverse scales and uses.