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Our Top Moments of 2021

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.

Robert L. Holzbach Begins Term as 2020 President of the AIA|DC

We are pleased to announce Robert L. Holzbach, AIA, LEED AP, our Principal and Director of Staff Operations, has begun his term as the 2020 President of the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|DC).

Having joined the AIA|DC Board of Directors in 2015 as an At-Large Member, Rob went on to serve as Secretary, Treasurer, and President-Elect before stepping into his current role as President. During his tenure, Rob pioneered the creation of the DAC Leadership Series, a program designed to provide continuing education and leadership development for mid-career professionals, with panel topics in 2019 including Unconscious Bias, Artificial Intelligence, Leadership for the Next Generation, and Alternative Career Paths.

With over two decades of experience in the architecture and interior design profession, Rob brings his leadership skills and industry knowledge to the AIA|DC.  He is particularly interested in forging connections with like-minded organizations focused on Climate Action.  This effort brings the AIA|DC into alignment with the AIA National’s “Big Move Toward Environmental Stewardship”, which seeks to declare an urgent climate imperative for carbon reduction, transform the day-to-day practice of architecture, and take immediate action.  He is also invested in issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion and has reshaped the Board of Directors to accurately reflect the chapter’s diverse membership.

As a Principal at Hickok Cole, Rob is a Project Director for commercial office building projects, and as Director of Staff Operations, he is responsible for firm wide recruiting, retention, and staffing management.  His most notable projects include the NPR headquarters, 909 Rose Avenue at Pike & Rose, Franklin Square at 1300 Eye Street (reposition), and the Incubator Office building at Potomac Yards.

“I am thrilled to step into the role of President after many years of being a part of the AIA|DC Chapter. Throughout my membership, I have witnessed first-hand the value this remarkable organization provides, not only to the profession but to the city as a whole,” said Rob. “I look forward to working with my fellow Board Members to build upon the achievements of my predecessors and honor the role of the AIA within the architecture community.”  

Robert Holzbach, Yolanda Cole, and Micheal E. Hickok at the annual AIA|DC President’s lunch.

Hickok Cole Celebrates MLK Gateway Groundbreaking with Menkiti Group and Mayor Bowser

On January 8, 2020, Hickok Cole, the Menkiti Group, and Enlightened Inc. were joined by Mayor Muriel Bowser and city officials to celebrate the official groundbreaking of the MLK Gateway. Located at the corner of Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, this development intends to revitalize the Anacostia neighborhood and serve as a catalyst for economic opportunity. Upon completion, the project will deliver an estimated 400 jobs to the local community.

Our team has worked closely with the Menkiti Group to design a sustainable and equitable space that matches their vision for economic development while addressing the needs and concerns of the Anacostia community. Beginning Q1 2021 upon construction completion, Phase One will feature the restoration of 14,000 SF of ground floor retail and 20,000 SF of newly built office space, and include facade preservation in an effort to maintain continuity of the historic neighborhood. Phase Two design will tentatively start later this year with the goal to start construction soon after the completion of Phase One.

Several companies are already on board to lease the new space, including Enlightened Inc, who has agreed to relocate its headquarters from downtown DC. The tech company will not only increase traffic to the area, but increase career growth with a new incubator program designed to help small tech firms conduct business with the federal government, in addition to offering cybersecurity training geared towards providing local residents with new skill sets. 

We are thrilled to be a part of this pivotal development in the heart of Anacostia and look forward to the monumental opportunities it will bring to the community. 

Hickok Cole’s Top 19 Moments of 2019

2019 was a great year for our staff, our projects and our firm. We put our research into action, saw many of our designs finally realized in construction, and even brought home a few awards. None of it though, would be possible without our partners and our clients. We thank you for sharing our vision and for embracing opportunities focused on building a successful future for our city and the people within it. Now for a rundown of our top moments of the year:

1. In 2019, we welcomed 10 new members to the Hickok Cole team – including a designer who started as an intern this spring!

2. We promoted 13 team members to positions varying from Associate to Principal, and celebrated five staff members who reached significant firm milestones within the firm.

3. The International Spy Museum opened in L’Enfant Plaza, taking DC by storm with it’s technically innovative design – winning awards and recognition from organizations like NAIOP DC|MD, ENR Mid-Atlantic, and the Architectural Engineering Institute, and earning features in publications like Dezeen, Architectural Digest and the Washington Post.

4. We continued our support of net zero and high-performance development through participation in the DMV Net Zero Energy Coalition and ULI Sustainability Committee while strengthening our relationship with the DOEE by helping to inform the real estate industry about goals established by DC’s new Omnibus Act.

5. Our Lifestyle team celebrated the grand opening of The Batley, a warehouse turned residence setting the new standard for modern luxury in DC. Inspired by the history of the Union Market neighborhood, the design features a variety of custom furnishings, finishes and works of art throughout the building’s public and amenity spaces.  

6. We transformed our research on modular and mass timber construction into reality with new projects at Benning Road and 80 M SE in DC respectively. Upon completion, 80 M will become the first ever mass timber construction on a commercial office building in DC.

7. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the most ambitious clean energy law in the nation at our American Geophysical Union headquarters project, the first net-zero energy office renovation in the Mid-Atlantic region. The project went on to receive the DC Department of Energy and the Environment’s first ever Clean Energy DC Award.

8. We won and began work on our first project in Philadelphia, a modular multi-family development in historic Fishtown, expanding our geographic reach to include the City of Brotherly Love.

9. Nearly five decades following the fire that burned it down, we helped restore the beloved St. Thomas Parish to the Dupont Circle community – completing a mixed-use renovation and modern interpretation of the church with an adjacent multi-family addition that makes use of the surviving 1970s facade.

10. Hickok Cole’s Richmond office broke ground on their first base building project, The Current, a mixed-use development with Lynx Ventures.

11. We delivered the first phase of our work to modernize National Geographic’s headquarters campus with a new office environment that properly reflects their mission-driven culture, and began work on the next phase of design for the organization’s new entry pavilion.

12. We hosted our first annual Wellness Month (which originated as Wellness Week in 2018) and brought meditation, mindfulness, health and wellness to the workplace thanks to our partners at Steelcase, Bently, Coalesse, Designtex, reDistrict, ALKS, MOI, and many more.

13. Hickok Cole Creative continued to expand upon their portfolio of strategic branding packages for multifamily and commercial buildings across the DMV, while embarking on efforts for new clients in the arts and culture world – including artist residency program, the Nicholson Project and the DC Concert Orchestra Society.

14. The hard work and dedication of our team members was recognized with more than thirty industry awards, including honors from IIDA Premiere MAC, MultiHousing News, AIA Northern Virginia, Retrofit Magazine, Multi Family Executive, and ENR. 

15. We strutted the catwalk at Cosmo Couture with our partners Good Lines DC and Buzzi Space in a visionary portrayal of Memory that paid homage to the Kodak Carousel.

16. Our staff shared their expertise at industry events like Design DC, ULI’s Resilience Day, Bisnow’s Greater State of Senior Housing and ARchitecture & Design Summits, and the PHIUS Passive House Conference. We were also invited to serve and began work as co-chair for the upcoming Facades+ DC conference.

17. 1701 Rhode Island Avenue delivered fully leased to co-working behemoth WeWork, and was then sold by Akridge to Exan Capital for a record market price –  winning it the title of Best Urban Office and Best Real Estate Transaction Over $25 Million from NAIOP DC|MD.

18. Our Full Circle Committee organized over 300 staff hours dedicated to volunteer efforts from helping at soup kitchens and running marathons to donating pro-bono design work for Arts on the Block’s new Silver Spring studio.

19. Finally, we raised nearly $150,000 – a new record – in partnership with Washington Project for the Arts at our annual Art Night event which featured a custom pop-art themed signage, invitations, and swag designed by Hickok Cole Creative.

Looking forward to a bright 2020 – we’ll see you then!