The principals at CMH Architects are “very proud that we have not developed one particular architectural style that defines our work,” according to Everett Hatcher, AIA, executive vice president and one of the founding partners. “At CMH we focus on interaction with the client to achieve a combination of innovative designs and a finished project that is both aesthetically pleasing and financially successful.”
This combination of client sensitivity and design integrity has served the firm well in developments in over 30 states. CMH has become known nationally for their retail centers, while they also design corporate, educational, and mixed-use projects.
Architects and designers at the 26-year-old firm, based in Birmingham, Alabama, understand that while good design should never be compromised, other goals such as meeting target proformas and understanding tenant requirements are critical to the success of a development.
According to Jerry McWilliams, president and a founding partner, “good design has become largely consumer-driven. Ten years ago, the success of a retail project was virtually guaranteed if it had good tenants in the right location. Today, success requires good design which is sensitive to the community and the consumer.”
“Consumers like the drive-up convenience of lifestyle centers and even though a lifestyle center is more expensive to build, in the last few years it's become the preferred concept in the retail industry.”
CMH has recently designed two centers that reflect these consumer demands. At both The Summit LeHigh Valley (Bethlehem, Pa.) and The Avenue Carriage Crossing (Memphis, Tenn.), CMH Architects has reflected the Main Street feeling so popular with shoppers and developers.
The Summit LeHigh Valley is a joint development of Forest City Enterprises and Bayer Properties, Inc. It is a 545,000 square foot lifestyle center anchored by Target, a 16- screen theater and Best Buy. The architecture is a collection of architectural styles which recall the traditional buildings in the LeHigh Valley. Planned on New Urbanist principals, the development is being studied for the design to meet the standards of green building criteria necessary to obtain LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. This project will be the fourth Summit project designed by CMH.
The Avenue Carriage Crossing is an 810,000-square-foot lifestyle center with Parisian and Dillard's department stores, in Collierville (Memphis), Tenn. The design incorporates a Main Street layout with central village green, lush landscaping and fountains, with buildings taking their cues from old southern towns like historic downtown Collierville. The Avenue project was developed through a partnership of Jim Wilson & Associates and Cousins Properties Incorporated and is the fourth Avenue project CMH has completed.
In the future, McWilliams and Hatcher aim to continue the firm's philosophy of personal commitment and design integrity, with assistance from other firm principals, Michael Tillman, Jeffrey Black, Michael O'Kelley and Scott Carlisle.
CMH Architects, Inc.
Park Drive, Suite 300
Size of Firm: 35 architects and designers
Year Established: 1980
AIA, founding partner and president
Everett Hatcher, AIA, founding partner and executive vice president