HMC Architects, a 400-person, California-based firm with offices in Nevada and Arizona, is expanding through a merger with San Francisco's Beverly Prior Architects (BPA). "HMC has been planning for an office in San Francisco for the past few years," HMC president and CEO Randy Peterson, FAIA, says. The combined firms' San Francisco office will be known as HMC+Beverly Prior Architects.

The firms have overlapping experience in the education market, while BPA's civic- and justice-sector projects will complement HMC's work in the health care and institutional markets. "The merger with Beverly Prior Architects broadens our expertise," HMC's northern California regional managing principal Ric Mangum, AIA, says.

Beverly Prior, FAIA, will be principal in charge of the San Francisco office. The office will start with her current 20-person staff, but it is expected to grow over time. Prior's corporate leadership role will include becoming the firm's practice leader for the civic and justice markets.

"I've had a lot of interest from larger firms over the years," Prior says, but she has always resisted entreaties from larger, more corporate firms. "HMC has a strong design profile, and it's not a corporate culture," she says. "I can move and think with their people. There's a joie de vivre to them."

Prior's notable projects include the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, in San Leandro, Calif.; the Windsor (Calif.) Fire Station; ACORN Woodland and Encompass Academy Elementary Schools, Oakland Unified School District; and the Laney College Art Building, Peralta Community College District, Peralta, Calif.

Editor's Note: HMC president/CEO Randy Peterson serves on ARCHITECT's editorial advisory committee.