Now open: HMM Design Collaborative

A new architecture firm is using gaming industry technology to give clients a virtual experience of their projects.

Mathias Mortenson of HMM Design Collaborative said the technology is becoming more cost-effective, and it allows people to wear goggles and virtually walk through a new house or restaurant design.

Mortenson is a member of the Mortenson Construction family, and he and his older brothers started working in the family business at age 15.

“When we all were able to drive, we would drive ourselves to construction sites,” he said.

He’s been involved in a wide variety of projects, working as a draftsperson on a war veterans memorial in San Francisco, estimator at the Mall of America, and construction coordinator at Target Field.

“I’ve spent time on both the design side and the construction side,” Mortenson said. “I have this strange, equal alliance to both sides that is kind of unusual. There is often a big gulf between the two.”

Mortenson said he enjoys taking on projects of any size.

“Especially with old houses, for instance, every project is a puzzle to be solved,” he said.

One recent puzzle: A renovation of a two-story Minneapolis house with eight different levels throughout.