We believe enduring architecture springs from a deep understanding of the place, the needs of the project and the desires of our client merged with integration of sustainable best practices. Founded in 2004, HEDS is a women-owned architecture firm based in Charlottesville, VA and serving Virginia and North Carolina with a practice that includes projects across the US, in Canada and Europe. We focus on the careful integration of buildings with their environment — a focus that operates at several levels — in harmonizing buildings with their surroundings, and in the integration of building and natural systems, such as cooling through natural ventilation, rainwater collection, and harnessing energy from the sun.
The breadth of the project types and scales, is evidence of our ability to tackle diverse projects and places with a clear vision specific to each. Over the years, we have worked on a variety of types of projects including academic and cultural institutions, commercial buildings, mixed-use projects, single and multi-family residential as well as planning projects. With a global architectural background, both Hays and Ewing have lived and worked in Europe, Asia as well as the United States. Both have worked on award winning projects with Cesar Pelli, Renzo Piano and more recently as partners with William McDonough. Currently, our architecture firm has projects underway in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Arizona.
Hays + Ewing Architects and Planners has been at the forefront of the green design movement with thirty years of collective experience in the field. Hays and Ewing have worked on numerous projects that have been recognized for their excellence in sustainable design and commitment to ecological principles. The Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College was named one of the Top Ten Green Projects in 2002 from the AIA Committee on the Environment. The Herman Miller “Greenhouse” Factory and Offices and 901 Cherry for GAP, Inc. both won a joint award from Architectural Record and Business Week’s “Good Design is Good Business” award. The Woolen Mills House has been published widely and featured on the cover of Good, Green Homes.
We are equally committed to bringing the highest level of design focus to each project. Numerous projects directed by the partners have won national and regional design awards. The Virginia Beach House received the 2002 “Custom Home of the Year” awarded by Custom Home magazine for the Virginia Beach House and was one of ten homes selected for HGTV’s “Ten Most Beautiful Homes in America”. The firm was selected to represent Virginia in the book 50 US Architects.
Christopher Hays started Christopher Hays Design Studio in 2004 out of a desire to focus on ecological design in the Southeastern region. In 2006, the firm reformed as HEDS with Partner, Allison Ewing. Mr. Hays’ works spans the globe with projects in the US, Spain, The Netherlands and Brazil and encompasses large scale commercial projects, institutional, residential and planning. Mr. Hays has a deep interest in the correspondence of natural systems and building systems. By drawing liberally from primary elements found in the outdoors, his projects incorporate an abundance of daylight, fresh air, and views.
From 1994-2005, Mr. Hays was Design Partner at William McDonough + Partners. His work experience also includes the well-renowned firms of Renzo Piano (Italy), GK Sekkei (Japan) and Cesar Pelli & Associates.
Mr. Hays has also taught design studios at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. He has also served as a panelist and lecturer before a wide variety of audiences, including groups like the U.S. Green Building Conference, the American Institute of Architects’ National Convention, Auburn University, and the PG&E Energy Center.
Mr. Hays received his graduate degree from the Yale University Graduate School of Architecture. He is a Fulbright Scholar with research on the bridges of Venice.
“Chris listens carefully to his clients’ ideas and visions and then creates unique designs to fulfill their desires. As concepts are worked through he addresses all questions and concerns that arise. Chris is very aware of budget issues, and works hard at value engineering with clients and builder to meet his clients’ budget. Teamwork between his clients , the builder and himself is fostered with good communication. Therefore very few problems arise.” Peter Johnson, General Contractor
As an architect and leader, Allison Ewing, FAIA has advanced sustainability through design, implementation and advocacy – both within and beyond the architectural profession — by modeling change in the building industry with solutions both visionary and practicable. Working on commercial, institutional, residential, and mixed-use projects at both large- and small-scale, Allison Ewing’s architectural experience spans twenty-five years and three continents. Ms. Ewing’s work seeks transformation – of site, of workplace, of living environment. She pursues design excellence at all scales, from site to building to detail – an approach which encompasses meeting client’s goals while arriving at elegant solutions that embody sustainable best practices.
Prior to forming her own firm HEDS with partner Chris Hays, Ms. Ewing was Partner at William McDonough + Partners, and design associate at the Italian firm of Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Her work experience also includes the offices of Cesar Pelli & Associates and Mitchell Giurgola Architects.
Ms Ewing has been a speaker at a number of national and international events related to sustainable design and her work has been published in EcoHome, USA Weekend, Dwell, Custom and the Washington Post Home. She has received many design awards, including “Custom Home of the Year Award” from Custom Home Magazine. The Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center of Virginia received the top Virginia AIA award in 2018.
Ms. Ewing received her Masters in Architecture from Yale University Graduate School of Architecture. She was recipient of a Monbusho Fellowship to Japan where she studied Japanese housing.
“Allison Ewing ranks high among the first-generation of architects leading our industry toward sustainability over the past 30 years, and her name, work, voice, and lasting influence in this crucial field stand alongside those of visionary peers like William McDonough, Ed Mazria, Bob Berkebile, and Mary Ann Lazarus.” – Rick Schwolksy, Senior Fellow, Architecture 2030
Allison is a member of the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows, the AIA’s highest membership honor for exceptional work and contributions to architecture and society.