Following the roller coaster that was 2020, we welcomed this past year with open arms and hope for a highly-anticipated return to normal. Instead, we found ourselves in limbo, slowly adjusting to the fact that normal may now be an ever-elusive concept. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because, while the pandemic upended the world and our industry as we knew it, in its wake we found an endless pool of opportunity.

We’re not the type to shy away from a challenge. Inspired by our new home and our team’s resiliency and optimism, we chose to embrace change in all its forms. We took a fresh look at our internal policies and procedures, establishing a stronger foundation to support our priorities and culture. We refined our design approach, leveraging technology and enhanced forms of communication for improved results without losing sight of the relationships and the people at the center of it all.

If we’ve learned anything, it’s that nothing is guaranteed—but we’re stronger together. So, thank you to our staff, partners, and friends for celebrating with us in the best of times and continuing to put your trust in us during the very worst. Regardless of what 2022 holds, we’ll face it head-on with you side-by-side. Until then, let’s take a moment to appreciate a year of hard work and accomplishments worth celebrating.

We Moved

Not only did we move, but we actually moved in! (That used to go without saying, but these days who can keep up?) So yes, we’re officially in the Union Market District five days a week and settling into our new digs quite nicely. Spread across the top two floors of the historic Press House building at 301 N Street, NE, we’re enjoying some of the perks we built in ourselves: plenty of sun from the skylights, wellness rooms equipped for our new moms, meetings (and happy hours!) on the back patio, art, art, and more art, and—most importantly—an endless supply of coffee and sparkling water on tap.

We pledged to embrace new habits while carrying over our favorite traditions and formally adopting some new ones started during the pandemic. We also took a critical look at our company policies and refreshed them to better reflect the culture we’re proud to have cultivated, including finding ways to prioritize what matters most like time with family and giving back. But even with so much progress and improvement, there are some things that will never change—and that’s our sense of community.

We Grew

This year, we welcomed fifteen new faces to the Hickok Cole family—three in Richmond alone! After moving into their Broad Street home in 2020, Hickok Cole Richmond is already bursting at the seams with nine full-time team members juggling projects across the thriving city and beyond. We expanded our leadership team, promoting seventeen architects, designers, and administrators to positions varying from Associate to Principal. And to better address our short and long-term goals and values, we established several new positions, including Design Directors and a Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

We Delivered

We completed two major headquarters in DC allowing the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Nava PBC to return to the workplace in style with branded environments reflective of their respective mission and culture. Meanwhile, The Aleck at 1400 L Street landed one of the largest leases in the DC office market, earning a NAIOP DC|MD Award of Excellence for Best Real Estate Transaction.

Our housing and lifestyle teams spent a lot of time in Northern Virginia, delivering J Sol in partnership with Hickok Cole Creative (it’s already at 95% occupancy!) and The Highlands, two developments that make a striking impression in their neighborhoods, while successfully capturing the attention of millennials and boomers alike in Clarendon with interiors and amenities fit for royalty at The Earl.

Nothing says “job well done” like a repeat client and Hickok Cole Creative had them in spades this year. Tackling projects up and down the east coast, our Creative team saw existing relationships with some of the region’s biggest names in commercial and multifamily development expand, leveraging their signature approach to storytelling to build meaningful brands and differentiate within ever-evolving portfolios. Next stop? Global domination.

Another proud moment? The new Arts on the Block studio opened its doors this fall, marking our first hybrid pro-bono project designed by Full Circle, our internal philanthropic committee.

We Celebrated

We cheered on as some of our passion projects progressed to new phases. 80 M Street began construction and introduced the District to mass timber earlier this spring while we put the finishing touches on American Geophysical Union’s net zero headquarters. We were especially honored to share several project milestones with Mayor Bowser, who joined us at Walter Reed for the Kite House groundbreaking ceremony and returned to Anacostia to celebrate the delivery of MLK Gateway’s Phase I.

Our hard work paid off with projects accumulating more than twenty industry awards, including honors from IIDA Premiere MAC, GRACRE, SMPS, Retrofit Magazine, Multifamily Executive, and Multihousing News. Members of our staff were invited by industry organizations to share their expertise at events for ULI, Bisnow, Facades+ DC, and the Annual MHN Summit, and spoke on a range of subjects from diversity in design to carbon neutrality and reaching net zero emissions.

Finally, we hosted a hybrid version of Art Night and our first ever in our new space. Featuring a custom campaign designed by Hickok Cole Creative, this year’s event built on old and new traditions to bring artists, collectors, and the DC real estate community together—in person and online—for a unique celebration of art. In partnership with Washington Project for the Arts, we raised over $132,800 in support of the local arts community, proving smaller crowds can still make a big impact.

What’s Next?

After a year of watching our new office, mass timber, and net zero dreams come true, we’re more excited than ever for what comes next. And it seems our clients are, too. Interest in mass timber and addressing carbon emissions across the built environment is at an all-time high, and our team is ready to tackle it head-on. From the future of office to new models for mixed-use living and creating community identity, the name of the game is differentiation. As a forward-focused firm, we love being the first to try something new. But what really matters is our ability to turn a moment of celebration into a movement. As we look to 2022, it’s as much about who’s next as it is what, and seeking more partners who share our mission to do work that matters for our city, industry, and environment.

See you next year!

Want to get in on the action? Connect with Laura Roth to schedule a time to meet with our team.