A black book repeated on a table that says "Process: How to create community buildings with impact"

Process: How to Create Community Buildings with Impact

Our latest book is designed to guide people through each stage of a public building project. 

Having helped local governments deliver these projects for over forty years, we know how overwhelming the process can be. So, we decided to put everything we know into a book. Teach people the process, while sprinkling in our latest thinking. 

From budgets and site planning, to community engagement, the climate crisis, inclusive design, and measuring a project’s impact, this 208-page guide will help you understand the decisions you may need to make, and the tripping hazards to avoid.

A modern manual, 40 years in the making

Rather than feeling like a traditional coffee table architecture book, we want people to own this guide like a working manual. Keep it on your desk, take it to site, or thumb through it four years down the line when you’re deep into a project and stuck on a problem.

To encourage note-taking, we designed the layout with generous margins and adorned the pages with our own handwritten notes—reminiscent of architectural red-lining—to create a conversation with the reader and offer important advice and insights.

We chose an exposed spine to metaphorically represent the design process, revealing how the book is made, while a tactile canvas cover hearkens back to the nostalgia of machinery manuals and is intended to wear with use.

The copy and infographics are presented in neutral and grayscale tones, with flashes of full colour imagery to breathe life into case study spreads. Rather than a glossy finish, a warm, uncoated paper stock provides a smooth writing experience—a beautiful contrast to the rawness of the cover.

Forward bound

The result is a down-to-earth guide that makes an incredibly complex subject easy to understand, and easier to navigate. While we created this book with government clients in mind, we think it could be equally useful for the next generation of architects, or, anybody who wants to help create a built environment that’s kinder to people and kinder to the planet.

This book was written and designed by hcma, but wouldn’t have been possible without contributions from clients, industry colleagues, City staff, and elected officials. For that, we are incredibly grateful.

‘Process: How to Create Community Buildings with Impact’ was awarded a 2021 Adobe PRINT award for the cover design.



hcma, with contributions from Kevin Pike and Alan Nicholson.

MET Fine Printers

Roswell Bookbinding

Gabriel Cabrera

Carl Ostberg

Other Projects