Our Work Philosophy

The Perfect Sized Design Firm by Mike Henry

In the design studio in Biggin Hall, the former home of the school architecture at Auburn, I often heard the term "Schlock". Wikipedia defines it as an English word of Yiddish origin meaning "something cheap, shoddy, or inferior". And that was when my professors and fellow budding architects were minding their manners! I received my fair share of "schockings" over those 5 years (which I crammed into 6). I even got a couple of models smashed! This was very traumatic after pulling "all-nighters" to compensate for what we called "delayed inspiration syndrome". It had absolutely nothing to do with football games or fraternity parties.

After I graduated and started to discover what the profession really required, I promised myself to strive to create spaces, buildings and other art forms that transcended the dreaded "schlock" classification. I have been blessed with many professional relationships that taught me about contemporary, traditional, eclectic and transitional design. Over the last 31 years, various employers, partners and associates have shared lots of valuable knowledge, insight and creative energy with me. I have seen the practice of architecture in many sizes and shapes. From sole practitioner to apprentice under a single architect to 12 person firms with single offices to a 250 person, multi-discipline firm with 3 offices, it has been an adventure.

In 1995, I started out on my own for the second time. The first time was in 1980 when I thought I had found a niche in passive solar, energy efficient design. Needless to say, the demand for that specialization waned - at least in Southeastern Virginia - for several years until recently, when "green" and LEED became more prominent in trade publications. The present firm has grown from 3 to 6 and that seems to be the right size. We have a comfortable, family atmosphere in the office.

As the home page says, Michael Henry - Architect, PC is a small, regional design firm committed to excellence and responsiveness in selected project types. We are small by choice, preferring a relaxed and spontaneous office climate to the bureaucratic structure of a larger corporation. We are regional by choice, preferring to serve our neighbors in southeastern Virginia to a national or international market. We are experienced in the project types you see represented on this web site, not trying to be all things to all clients. We select knowledgeable consulting engineers, seek their advice and coordinate their efforts effectively. We strive to maintain strong, effective relationship with contractors, municipal directors, code officials and building inspectors. Most of our projects are referred from prior clients, contractors or real estate professionals. If we can serve you responsively and excellently, we would love to work with you. If not, we will tell you so without hesitation. Then we will gladly refer you to one of our friends in another excellent firm.

Your custom home, commercial building or professional office building will set the stage for your family or your business. Regardless of the people or the activities involved, our goal is to provide a high level of service and an appropriate design for your family, your employees or your professional staff. We enjoy designing several custom houses, commercial buildings and professional offices or buildings every year. Most are for our repeat clients, but even if you are a first time client, we think of you as a repeat client from the introductory meeting to the house warming party.

If all this sounds like the type of relationship you want with an architect, we invite you to call and discuss your next adventure in architecture and construction.

All The Best,

Michael Henry and the MHA Team