Hinman was the first freestanding research facility on the Georgia Tech campus. Its original design was created in 1939 by Georgia Tech professor P.M. Heffernan, an architect and later the director of the School of Architecture (1956-1976). After serving many decades for other purposes, the building saw a complete renovation and preservation effort in 2011. A collaboration among architects Nader Tehrani and Monica Ponce de Leon of the Boston firm Office d’A, preservation architects Lord Aeck Sargent Architecture of Atlanta, structural engineers Uzun & Case, and the construction management firm The Beck Group yielded an extraordinary result in design and construction quality and building performance.
The 35,000 square foot facility contains a dramatic central volume housing design studios as well as additional design studios, offices, and research labs across three levels. New stairways and a studio tray suspended from an existing crane gantry are inventively detailed in metal, inserted into the historic fabric and enclosed in nets of metallic mesh that in their material realization suggest the generative logic by which they were digitally formed. The ensemble is a true cultural treasure providing a work environment of uncommon quality. The repurposed building has received a number of awards from organizations that range from the American Institute of Architects, to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, Interior Design Magazine's 2011 Best of Year Award, and ARCHITECT magazine’s venerable P/A (Progressive Architecture) Award Citation.