We believe the intersection of architecture, design, and technology must center on people.

Human experiences have been and always will be the cornerstone of our profession. The digital tool set has enabled us to transcend traditional methods, providing more intuitive and empathetic ways to explore and innovate. Our goal is to transform the design process through empathy, by pioneering new methods of understanding.

HGA’s award-winning Digital Practice Group is organized around advancing the future of practice to create a positive, lasting impact through design. Leveraging a process centered around people and empowered by technology elevates our ability to iterate, understand, and communicate ideas through a widened frame of reference. Automating processes, leveraging data, developing proprietary software, and facilitating a collaborative and nimble environment allows the Digital Practice Group to navigate an ever-changing environment.

The Digital Practice Group is organized around individuals of diverse backgrounds, including architecture, engineering, visualization, and computer programming. The specialized nature of these individuals allows them to address complex problems through collaboration with HGA project teams. This enables HGA to evolve traditional practice, provide innovative solutions, and deliver better results to our clients and their communities.


Our expertise includes:

  • Computational Design
  • Visualization
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • Fabrication


In the 1960s the Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota was divided by Interstate 94. The REACH Rondo project reimagines the space with a land bridge that would reconnect the Rondo neighborhood.

Computational Design

While designers traditionally rely on intuition and experience to solve design challenges, computational design enhances that process by encoding design decisions using computer language. Our Digital Practice Group works with project teams using visual programming tools such as Dynamo and Grasshopper to offer solutions to a wide array of project challenges. Data curation, performance analysis, machine learning, and generative design give us a unique understanding of the problems our clients are facing. This approach allows us to explore complexity with a curious nature and differentiates our process from traditional practice.


Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and real-time rendering continue to transform the way we design. Using these tools to design at a one-to-one scale provides clients and building occupants the ability to inhabit a proposed design to better understand adjacencies, workflows, materiality, light, and scale. Our visualization experts allow us to communicate and evaluate design decisions and the impact they have on a space’s inhabitants.

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

HGA’s Digital Practice Group is nationally recognized for its Building Information Modeling (BIM) capability and experience with a diverse array of project types, scales, and complexities. Our BIM experts support project teams by creating an information rich infrastructure that ensures a nimble, iterative design process. This allows the design team and project stakeholders to virtually construct, test, and optimize a building before it’s built.


Our fabrication studio creates high-end models to help illustrate a designer’s vision with greater accuracy. Using in-house machinery, such as 3D printing, CNC milling, laser cutting, and engraving, we are able to quickly iterate and prototype our design solutions. This allows HGA to elevate the quality of our projects while making it easier for all project stakeholders to visualize the design in detail.

The Empathy Effect

The Empathy Effect: Mixed Reality for Design, a virtual reality (VR) experience simulating how people of different ages and abilities move through an environment designed by HGA Architects and Engineers, has earned an Honorable Mention from Architect Magazine’s 11th annual R+D Awards.