Austin-based architecture firm celebrates its first completed commercial project

Nicole Bueno

Led by architecture assistant professor Matt Fajkus, Austin-based MF Architecture transformed Hill Country Apothecary — a pharmacy located in a Lakeway strip mall — into a space that marks the firm’s first commercial venture.

From nonprofit work for families involved in the Bastrop fires of 2011 to backdrops for fashion shows, Fajkus said the architects at MF Architecture pride themselves on their diverse projects.

The firm has taken a grassroots approach to engaging the Austin community in its work by using social media to connect with potential clients, an unusual approach for architecture firms, according to Fajkus.

Fajkus said that although each of MF Architecture’s projects is rooted in the function of the space, the firm looks to push the limits of modernist architecture.

“What we do is so much more about the experience than simply a cool floor plan,” Fajkus said. “We want to produce something that is primarily functional but transcends its function.”

Sarah Johnson, UT alumna and architectural associate at MF Architecture, said the firm likes to start from a challenge rather than viewing their work as the building it will be in the end — an inside-out vantage point. Fajkus described his firm’s aesthetic as “honest design,” minimizing clutter and staying true to its modernist tradition while overcoming challenges such as time, budget and environmental constraints.

“We aim to create maximum impact on minimum means,” said Fajkus. “We want to be known as problem-solvers and designers, too — not just as architects.”

According to Johnson, MF Architecture aims to promote sustainability with its work, both environmentally and economically, even helping Hill Country Apothecary design a new logo in an effort to rebrand the business and promote its longevity.

“[Fajkus] is making a positive contribution to architecture in Austin and Texas,” said Frederick Steiner, dean of the School of Architecture. “He is thoughtful and inventive while being environmentally and socially responsible.”

Looking to the future, Fajkus hopes to use his firm as a platform to expand the relevance of architecture and change the community.

“With MF Architecture, we’ve mostly been involved in residential work, but we’re interested in reaching out to the commercial sector,” Fajkus said. “I’d love to see us continuing to diversify and get to design spaces that reach more people.”