Having graduated with my professional degree in architecture from Pratt Institute in 1982, I worked for several firms in New York City before forming my own firm, Tom Hitchins Associates in New Jersey in 1990. In 2008, my wife and I followed our dream and relocated to the coast of Maine, where I continue to practice.
There is no one “style” that characterizes my approach to design. You can design a wonderful building using any particular design language: Modern, Country, Arts and Crafts, etc. The important thing is to be fluent in each vocabulary, to know the rules and when to break them. Each project is unique, with a unique client, a unique program, a unique site.
Many architects and architectural styles have influenced my professional development, ranging from the largely anonymous master carpenters who built the houses, churches, and Grange Halls of Maine’s towns and villages to the classic early-twentieth-century designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, Gustav Stickley, and Greene and Greene. I learned quite a bit from studying the farmhouses of the 16th-century Venetian Andrea Palladio and the public buildings of the twentieth-century Finnish modern architect Alvar Aalto. More recently I’ve come to admire the work of Adjaye Associates, Shigeru Ban Architects, and the firm of Concordia.
Three books on architecture have had a large impact on my practice: A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander; The Not So Big House, by Sarah Susanka; and How Buildings Learn, by Stewart Brand. These books are not just for architects: I strongly recommend them to anyone interested in knowing more about buildings and design.
Organizations related to my field that I actively support are Habitat for Humanity, The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, and The National Trust for Historic Preservation. I serve on the board of the Downeast Salmon Federation, the Sunrise County Economic Council as well as the Washington County Council of Governments Brownfields Advisory Commission and the Town of Steuben Planning Board.