He founded his firm, originally Tom Hatch Architects, in 1978 with a focus on affordable housing located in many of Austin’s inner city communities. He discovered a major challenge to this endeavor was the intrusion of gentrification. Working closely with neighborhood organizations, he put together a variety of welcomed and affordable housing units that still remain. His presence on the eastside continued to develop and grow throughout the years and this work continues to date. Throughout the 1980’s, Tom extended this work, his passion, to The Valley, El Paso, and Hereford. The Hereford community fought the development of Amistad, for two years, but their attitudes changed once the project was complete. Tom fondly recalls a neighbor that lived in a trailer across the street from Amistad telling him, “we didn’t know if would be this nice”.
Although designing attractive affordable housing that residents are proud to live in is Tom’s passion, he and the firm create a wide range of architecture. An Austin icon, Whole Foods Market, asked him to design their new headquarters at 6th and Lamar based on the firm’s knowledge of community spirit. This springboarded into the designing of multiple Whole Foods Markets in major cities across the country. In addition to his affordable multifamily residential work, the breadth of Tom and the firm’s portfolio include three libraries; numerous restaurants like Scholz Garten and Threadgill’s; historic preservation/renovation of buildings on Congress Avenue and Pease Mansion; amenity center and community centers like Oak Point Park and McKinney Roughs; and a number of schools like Acton Academy.
Tom’s reputation as thoughtfully creating spaces that are not only affordable, but visually pleasing has brought about long-lasting relationships with organizations like Foundation Communities, Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation, and Habitat for Humanity among others.