Standing out from the crowd and setting the ground for sustainable buildings is Hafsa Burt, an architect by profession. She has been the advocate of carbon neutrality; long before, sustainability became a buzzword.
Hafsa Burt was one of the pioneers who focused on creating green projects. She has successfully managed to influence people and her co-workers to go green and indulge in eco-activities. Through her firm, hb+a Architect, she aims to lay the foundation for sustainable projects that become a leading example for industry peers. Founded in 2006, Hafsa’s firm and her colleagues have to date created multiple projects which include work at San Francisco airport. Other sustainable projects include an 18 unit Apartment project in San Leandro, Terra Glen in San Jose, and more.
Hafsa Burt, the Advocate of Eco-Friendly Projects
Hafsa Burt is a SCAD graduate who comes from a family of intellects. Her father was a conservationist, who along with her brothers was a primary source of motivation. Her daily family
conversations ignited curiosity in her which led Hafsa to combine her interests in Science & the Arts and become an Architect.
The young talent served at different prestigious organizations and gained experience in the field. Over the years, Hafsa observed that leading architecture companies focused on aesthetics and not so much on the environment. This interest in conserving strategies for the planet stirred a change in Hafsa, which led to the foundation of her firm.
Keeping up with the needs of the modern era, Burt created a tech-savvy design studio that focuses on delivering high-quality design projects. She heavily focuses on the originality of the designs while incorporating eco-friendly concepts in the projects. Hafsa has been involved in initiating green building ordinances and design standards, with the current project portfolio ranging from fast-casual restaurant concepts to multifamily dwelling units. Her firm takes pride in an experimental approach to varied project types. To date, hb+a Architects has completed projects from Sacramento to Los Altos Hills.
Thinking Outside of the Box, the Creation of ‘Box Lab’
Hafsa Burt, a name synonymous with innovative ideas, has contributed significantly to revolutionizing the industry. As her firm was one of the first to shift in the direction of carbon neutrality more than a decade ago, she laid the foundation for a development arm for hb+a Architects, called Box Lab. Being a woman of action, she developed the Box Factory under her newly formed entity. The Box Factory is a prototype project to test off-grid, zero carbon, prefab construction and has successfully achieved these goals.
Box Factory located in Jackson, California, is a customized structure designed by Hafsa Burt. Being mindful of the topography, she worked out several ways to maximize orientation for drainage, thermal comfort, and focus on the magnificent views. The house uses solar energy for all its energy needs.
Completed in 2019, Hafsa is currently using the house as a demonstration project and a retreat for architects and industry peers who want to experience living in an energy-independent home. She states,
“People say it’s a great place to be in, not only because of the views and the home’s relationship to nature but also because the spaces heat up and cool down quickly—and retains that energy because of its design. The house doesn’t require much energy to get to a nice level of thermal comfort.”
The recipient of the “Young Architects” Award by the American Institute of Architects and the coveted title of “ENR 20 under 40,” Hafsa Burt has proved that everything is achievable through determination and hard work.