Alan Cross, RA, LEED AP

Founding Partner

History  Alan was born in Chicago and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains
of North Carolina. He received his B.Arch. from Cornell, studied in Rome,
trained in Chicago and San Francisco, and is a licensed architect in

Education  B.Arch. Cornell University

Interests  The grill and commercial aircraft


Hugh Hynes, RA, LEED AP

Founding Partner

History  Originally from London, Hugh grew up outside of Boston. After receiving a B.A. from Princeton and a M.Arch. with distinction from Columbia, he pursued research in Japan before settling in San Francisco. Hugh is a licensed architect, and a Senior Adjunct Professor at the California College of the Arts.

Education  B.A. Princeton University and M.Arch. with distinction Columbia University

Interests  Avid mountain biker and aspiring competitive eater




  • We build intelligent, resilient facilities that support your organization’s smooth operation and growth.

Who we are

At PROTOinc, we’re…

  • transforming the everyday built environment into the remarkable
  • working at the intersection of art and industry, producing architecture that works, and works beautifully
  • exploring ways for our built environment to be more resilient
  • collecting constantly, mining the built environment resourcefully for precedents and a myriad ingenious solutions that can be repurposed and recombined
  • testing and prototyping to develop new forms for facilities, the “hardware” that supports organizations 

How we work

Architecture is hampered by an overly linear process, and the pursuit of “ideal” solutions. This all falls apart when circumstances change over the course of the project (which they always do!), and the disrupted process becomes one of compromise and mitigation: the final outcome is far from ideal.

Why now? We live in an era of uncertainty, characterized by volatile markets and fast-moving problems that require shifts midstream (budgets, program, scheduling, etc...). We take this uncertainty as a given: if things can change, they will.

What if we could reduce this risk? Better yet, what if we could use this uncertainty to our advantage, to find better solutions?

Sounds expensive! It’s not. On the contrary, this process enables a more efficient use of resources throughout the design, documentation and implementation phases, what we call a practice of “lean resourcefulness.” For example, phasing is a valuable tool for us; it results in a more complicated process, but pays dividends in terms of minimizing downtime and maximizing operational coordination.

How does one start, if not with an idealized goal? Doesn’t that water things down? In fact, if we start with readymades that are iterated and recombined, we end up with something even more remarkable as a result of that evolutionary process. Partial fit becomes perfect fit. Rather than reinventing the wheel, what if we were to start with clear precedents and tried-and-true methods, and focus on repurposing those?

Sounds stressful! That’s where our highly organized, calm bedside manner comes in. We pride ourselves on a deep portfolio of repeat clients, whose trust we have earned and who bring us their toughest problems. With a track record that combines public projects (which are slow and methodical, requiring stamina and organization to stay on course) and private projects (which are fast and messy, requiring nimbleness and calm under pressure), our version of “resourcefulness” mixes the slow/rigorous with the fast/efficient.