What’s New

Our West Bountiful Elementary and East Ridge Elementary projects have been recognized as the IIDA Intermountain Best and Merit Award Winners in the “Learn” Category. These projects showcase the imaginative design of our K-12 learning environments. From the custom-designed graphics, to the engaging use of colors and finishes, to the high-quality learning spaces, these schools […]


Kyle has been an integral part of MHTN for the past 34 years. In his tenure at MHTN, Kyle led the efforts of many significant projects in several Utah School Districts, numerous Higher Education campuses, regionally and nationally, and various temple projects for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints temples, domestically and internationally. Kyle helped to build MHTN’s Student Life Team, cultivating and mentoring our team’s expertise, particularly in university student unions.

On behalf of everyone at MHTN, we wish Kyle the best in all future endeavors!

MHTN’s West Bountiful Elementary School has been recognized with Learning By Design’s Grand Prize Award.

The 65,000 SF, two-story educational facility is an on-site school replacement that features several learning environments in an open, collaborative space. The design promotes a variety of learning activities while learning studios easily open to a shared community space with sliding doors that transforms the learning environment in a simple and affordable way.

Our K-12 Team collaborated with numerous stakeholders when designing the school including local community leaders, school parent councils, and the city council. When meeting with West Bountiful’s students, our team created a special activity asking each child to imagine what the world should look like in 50 years. Bringing these ideas together, MHTN has developed a student-focused program and building that will be able to adapt to future educational needs.

Alongside the local community, MHTN also prioritized sustainability when designing the new school. West Bountiful is a zero-energy building featuring a photovoltaic array on the roof to generate the building’s entire electrical demand, classrooms oriented to maximize natural daylight, and high-tech mechanical systems that improve overall efficiency.

Find the full Grand Prize Award in the Fall 2021 edition of Learning By Design:


Wednesday, 8 December 2021, is a significant day in the history of MHTN Architects. It marks the passing of Elden Talbot, the “T” in MHTN. A position in our firm name reserved for the influential and visionary second-generation Principals group. A history that continues to span 98 years to date, and in no small part, is directly attributable to the life and work of Elden Talbot. Together with his partners at the time, Fred Montmorency and David Hayes, Elden established the cannons of ethical business practices, stunning and appropriate architecture, fiscal competence, and thoughtful public responsibility that form the foundations of MHTN’s corporate mission and identity today.


Elden Talbot’s life spanned 89 years. A life marked by multiple and significant accomplishments in the development of Utah’s built environment. For example, the majority of his Architectural career saw him working together with ten K-12 school Utah districts, to develop their school facilities. Facilities that have made positive impacts on the education of countless children in Utah. His reputation as one of Utah’s foremost school Architects, prompted the Tooele School District to seek him out in 1984, and hire him to rebuild Grantsville High School after it was completely destroyed in an arson fire.


The District, desperate to have the facility replaced as quickly as possible, consulted with multiple districts in the state who’s consensus recommendation was that Elden Talbot was the Architect they needed. The school was designed and built, with Elden’s leadership, in (10) months while incorporating innovative, ahead of its time, sustainable heating and electrical systems in support of the District’s pedagogy. 2021 also marked Elden’s recognition by AIA Utah as one of our community’s Architectural Legends for his contributions to the people of Utah.


Elden’s life was also significantly marked by his service to his country, his church, his family and the people of MHTN. After graduating from the University of Utah School of Architecture and ROTC training in 1954, and with the Korean conflict raging, Elden was sent to Fort Lewis Washington as an Army Operations Officer with the rank of Lieutenant. It was somewhat unusual for a Lieutenant to be given the responsibilities of regiment operations, but Elden’s organizational skills made it a good fit, and he excelled.


Elden’s faith and service to the LDS Church, was always an important part of his life. He lived his faith, exhibiting unwavering adherence to ethical business practices as well as thoughtful and respectful regard for people and their needs at all times. He held multiple service positions in the Church. He is the patriarch of a large family including many grandchildren. They are doctors, lawyers, military service wives, contractors, teachers, information technology directors and specialists, and on and on. Elden’s influence and guidance is clearly visible in their service to their communities and the kindness and consideration they practice in their lives.


Elden mentored many young professionals during his long architectural career. During that time his method of teaching did not solely rely on providing lessons in the business and the art of architecture. Elden’s mentorship meant that paying close attention to the way he conducted himself every day provided invaluable lessons on ethics, the kind and respectful treatment of people, empathy, leadership, decisiveness, humor, organization, and what it means to be a truly good person. While Elden’s passing is a great loss, we at MHTN take solace in knowing what his life well lived has meant to our community. And to those of us who were fortunate enough to have worked with him, learned from him, and admired him.  He will always be remembered as the “T” in MHTN.


Earlier this year AIA Utah interviewed Elden for a “Legendary Utah Architect” piece.  This interesting piece can be found here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tch4QVw7VVs&t=175s

MHTN would like to recognize and congratulate our firm’s newest advancements:


Vice President:
  • Mark Peterson
Principal and Board of Director:
  • Ryan Berry – Commercial and Religious;
  • Cliff Curtis – K-12;
  • Randy Knight – Higher Ed, Student Unions, and Religious;
  • Heather Knighton – Marketing;
  • Scott Later – K-12;
  • Ryan Wallace – Planning, Landscape Architecture, and Municipality
Associate Principal:
  • Ben Hansen – K-12 Learning Environments;
  • Jeff Juip – Commercial Environments;
  • Darrah Jakab – Sustainable Design;
  • Curtis Leetham – Healthcare Environments;
  • Amy Stevenson – Interior Design & Pre-Design
  • Madeline Petersen – Director of Systems Operations;
  • Matthew Hieb – Director of Temple Development;
  • Vince Olcott – Director of Landscape Architecture
  • Tales Brito – Professional Development Leader;
  • Justin Bowman – Technical Excellence Leader
Matthew Clinger Mentoring Grant recipient:
  • Tales Brito

Our Design Teams have been hard at work creating the new MHTN Studio inside the Historic Ford Building.
MHTN is thrilled to welcome this next chapter of our 98 year history!

As MHTN began planning it’s move into the historic Ford Building in downtown Salt Lake City, we saw this as an opportunity to put down roots in the vibrant Rio Grande neighborhood and take sustainability to another level. The world-shifting events of 2020 have certainly added another layer and put into perspective what sustainability means to MHTN. Input was cultivated through a series of workshops and surveys that ultimately led MHTN to adopt a more holistic, three-pronged approach to sustainability that addresses energy performance, human health and wellness, and organizational resilience.

Architecture 2030 Commitment

MHTN has signed the Architecture 2030 Commitment which aims to transform the built environment from a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central solution in the climate crisis. The goal is to eliminate carbon emissions from buildings by 2030. Our in-house R&D teams have developed an approach to achieve this, understand which actions can be taken right now, and to track our progress.

A significant decision was made to utilize an existing space instead of building new, which from a sustainability perspective is one of the more responsible things we could do. By repurposing a space within the Ford Building, we are using embodied energy that already exists within the building. This dramatically reduces the amount of carbon, resources, and energy necessary to construct new, even if it were the most efficient building ever built.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that building in flexibility is key to adapting to an ever-changing world. We have embraced this idea and see an opportunity for the MHTN Studio to be a living lab, a space to test new ideas that can be easily modified over time. Energy monitoring capabilities will help our R&D teams understand the energy impacts of the ways in which we work and use the space. In addition, it will provide real-time feedback that helps inform how we advise our clients to approach energy efficiency.

Iconic monitor sky lights bring light into a central and collaborative space that is overlooked by a mezzanine lounge. For energy conservation, our team has implemented ultra-efficient lighting design strategies throughout, even though the building’s orientation with the long side on the east and west face, and the short sides on the north and south, is not ideal. Our in-house interiors team and workplace design specialists determined ways to modulate and optimize the predominantly east-facing daylight. By placing most of the glassy conference rooms towards the center of the floorplate and more collaborative and people-centered spaces are along the perimeter, this strategy maximizes the shared views and beautifully tempered sunlight.

WELL Certification

The health and wellness of our studio occupants was a key project driver and ultimately led to MHTN pursuing WELL Building Certification. The certification is a holistic, performance-based framework that measures and monitors aspects of a building that impact human health and well-being, which are focused on the following:

The space itself, with lighting, mechanical system, materials, and acoustics were all coordinated and designed to optimize creative collaboration and well-being.

The new MHTN Studio was selected for its location within a walkable neighborhood, adjacency to a variety of amenities, proximity to public transit, as well as a public green space. The layout of the studio promotes the movement of people throughout and gives employees multiple options of workplace environments, while sit-to-stand workstations encourage ergonomics and activity.

Progressive air quality and thermal comfort measures, such as a flexible dress code and providing personal heating and cooling options, ensure that building occupants have choices and are working in optimal conditions so that they can collaborate and connect more effectively. A variety of acoustic environments have been designed to facilitate different types of working environments, from a bustling work café to individual-focused and schedulable work rooms.

Opportunities for people to rest and recharge have been considered in the design of the space. Biophilic elements have been incorporated into the central mezzanine space, providing opportunities for occupants to connect with nature while indoors. Several quiet nooks, a nap space, and a flexible policy will allow for people to take time needed to focus and restore. Special consideration has been taken to offer workplace stress management and provide people with healthy snack and food options while at work.

Just Label

MHTN continually strives to build our culture, attract top talent, value diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to be good stewards of our community. Becoming a Just organization aligns with our firm goals and demonstrates the firm’s social responsibility. The Just Program serves as a “nutrition label” for organizations seeking to become more socially-just and equitable. It provides a voluntary disclosure tool that promotes transparency and helps organizations optimize policies that improve social equity and enhance employee engagement. In the process of re-evaluating our firm’s policies and procedures, we were able to fill in gaps and missing pieces that have already become popular such as an enhanced parental leave policy.

The Result

This integrated design process that the new MHTN Studio underwent by gathering input from all the areas of expertise our firm has to offer, has helped to inform this holistic approach to sustainability. The result will be a more agile, balanced, and healthier work atmosphere for #TeamMHTN and our clients.

Our dear friend and colleague Matthew Clinger spent the past year and a half courageously battling extraskeletal osteosarcoma cancer.  It is with the utmost sorrow that we share Matt passed away on Wednesday, March 24th.  He continued against all odds through extensive chemo and radiation to play a significant role at MHTN as one of our esteemed leaders.  We recognize and celebrate the bounty of inspiration, dedication, and innovation that Matt shared with each of us.

Matt will always be known as an expert designer, architect, leader, and mentor.  Those skills made him a pleasure to work with, but more so his integrity and remarkable ability to accept things as they are and still spark joy.  Matt shared much with us.  We have especially benefited from his mentorship and influence in inspiring young professionals at MHTN.

In Matt’s honor, MHTN would like to continue that spirit of mentorship and professional development by instituting the “Matt Clinger Mentoring Grant”, which will be awarded to a recipient at MHTN each year.  This will allow our valued employees to experience a more acute focus on education, mentorship, and professional growth and then share what they learn with others.

Our thoughts turn now to Matt’s wife and five children.  We thank them for the countless hours they shared Matt that enabled us to stretch further and discover exceptional design solutions.  We hold them in our thoughts and ask that they be granted the peace and strength to endure the great loss of their husband and father.

When MHTN was hired to design the new West Bountiful Elementary School, the District asked our design team to create a school that would support learning throughout the building. From this vision stemmed the idea of creating fun space that would inspire learning and creativity. Our team immediately saw an opportunity to go consult with the experts on the matter – the West Bountiful students.

Over the course of several months, MHTN worked with the District and the school administration to engage the students through several creative exercises. The goal of this engagement was to better understand what was important to the students and how that might influence the theming and design of the new school. Through a school wide-writing assignment, the MHTN team saw a common theme of “Imagination” emerge. This theme became the building block for future design discussions.

As a follow up, our design team spent time with small groups of students to explore the idea of imagination and the built environment. Students were asked to picture places where they imagine best. Students created small-scale models highlighting what they felt was important about an imagination space. The models ranged from underwater caves to treetop nests, to desert sanctuaries. These creative explorations provided inspiration for the habitat concepts seen in each of the learning communities. This student engagement directly influenced color selection, graphics, and design implementations throughout the entire school.


One key area where the result of the student engagement activity can be seen is in the “nooks” in each learning community. These spaces became the perfect opportunity for large-scale graphics that built upon whimsical interpretations of the habitat theme. The graphics combine abstraction and realism, out-of-scale and out-of-place elements, human-made objects and nature to create a landscape to spark curiosity. The pixelated edges mirror architectural elements featured throughout the building. The graphics further shape the concept of imagination by obscuring details in a dream-like fashion. These elements are unified through a color palette unique to each habitat, creating an imaginative learning environment for students, teachers, and staff.



Multiple graphics and branding elements were placed throughout the building to stitch together the Imagination concept. Additionally, a space located on the second level is dedicated as an “Imaginarium.” This unique makerspace looks directly into the multipurpose area and offers a flexible environment for students to explore and create. Spaces like this showcase the potential of looking outside the box for creative influences during a design process. West Bountiful Elementary stands as an example that student led-imagination can lead to exciting and creative spaces for new K-12 projects.


To learn more about the full project, click here: West Bountiful Elementary School


Knowing that our office lease was going to be up in 2021, MHTN’s Pre-Design Team guided MHTN through a visioning and programming process to help imagine what the future of MHTN’s offices could be.

Faced with a looming lease-renewal and the choice to either stay and remodel our current space or move into a new space, MHTN wanted to know “How can we re-imagine our workspace?”  With the expertise of our in-house Pre-Design Team, we embarked on an office-wide visioning and programming process that engaged and inspired our staff, evaluated challenges, and ultimately led to some wonderful ideas and unexpected insights.

Little did we know at the time what 2020 would bring. Those early exercises, in the Fall of 2019, led to a program for a future office space that is supportive of well-being, collaboration, and a variety of work modes. An office that supports human needs (physical, emotional, cognitive, and social) and the ways that we work.

As COVID-19 hit and everyone shifted to working from home, our team reviewed and revisited the program to find that it aligned with all that we’ve learned from this pandemic about the future of work and the workplace.


As architects and designers, we eat, breath, and sleep conceptualizing space. How it functions and supports human needs, how to make it aesthetically pleasing. When it comes to our own office, everyone has their own way of working, organizing their workspace, and approaching creativity. As the Pre-Design Team got to work, a main challenge was in getting employees and leadership to step away from their existing mode of operation and evaluate their work process. We used a variety of exercises to get staff to ask themselves these questions:

  • In the future, when the vision of our future office has come to life, what will the experience be like?

  • What is an “ideal office”, and how does it support our employees, culture, and work as creative professionals?

When tasked with re-imaging something that is so close to our own experience, we almost needed an “intervention” to get a group of architects to avoid jumping to spatial conclusions, and instead, think about how we see ourselves, and how we envision the culture we want to cultivate in a new space.

The Pre-Design Team crafted a series of interactive workshops, surveys, pin-ups, focus groups, and even invented a board game, to address a few fundamental topics: workplace culture, the relationship between focused work and creative collaboration, and how our context and environment contribute to a sense of well-being. Common themes began to emerge, and we developed a set of project drivers that became our VISION 2021 Program that ultimately informed the design of the new studio:

• Support the individual within the collective  • Honor roots, nurture growth

• Exploration and creation Fostering wellness  • Space that inspires  • Embedded resiliency


And then, COVID-19. As the pandemic unfolded and we scattered into our remote worlds, our team immediately began to wonder if our visioning and programming findings were still valid, do people still want these things. In response, MHTN circled back with follow-up surveys. The team engaged a subsequent workshop to understand “what is the future of work?” and “how can we as design professionals enhance the inherently-collaborative work we do?”

Turns out, despite the radical change and efficiencies found in remote work, our employees tracked with the nation. We found our firm values an even  balance of collaboration, professional resources, and focus while inside the office. It also became apparent there is a consensus in placing greater emphasis on teamwork. These findings inspired us to think about our future office space in a totally new way: that it can be a place we go to exchange ideas, test, and discover new things together, and that maybe it shouldn’t be called an office anymore, but instead we should call it our “studio.”

A few surprising bits were uncovered in this process. One, the engagement of 100% of staff was off the charts and continues to this day. The experience validated the theory that bringing more people into the conversation activates a sense of belonging and comradery, that helps create a culture we will all thrive in. And two, this experience reinforces the importance of going through a visioning exercise.

Lastly, the visioning that MHTN does with our clients has prompted epiphanies and “a-ha” moments. We found, though, it can be difficult to understand the profound results until you go through it with your own colleagues, there is power in imagining together.

The new Academic Building at Utah State University Moab will be the most sustainable building on any USU learning campus. Currently under construction, the combustion-free and all-electric facility is designed for LEED Silver Certification and Zero Energy Certification standards by the International Living Future Institute.

A photovoltaic array not only powers the entire building but doubles as shading structures for parked vehicles, mitigating excess heat in the summer peak. The landscape design will utilize water-wise rain-harvesting strategies in addition to showcasing a permaculture garden. Ground-source technology leverages the stable temperature of the earth to heat and cool the building. Locally-sourced and non-toxic, Red-List free interior finishes create a healthy atmosphere for students and faculty.

Responsive to its context on the Colorado Plateau, the new Academic Building is integrated into the landscape. Passively designed to capture views to the Moab Rim and La Sal Mountains, the design will harness the abundant solar energy available on the site. Deep roof overhangs create a series of outdoor covered porches allowing for the wide variety of classes to spill outside. Together with our sustainability partner, Lake|Flato, the project incorporates biophilic design strategies into the building such as natural daylighting and views to the surrounding landscape. These strategies also include natural materials, patterns, textures, and colors in the exterior and interior, helping to bring the outdoors inside.

Read more about the Academic Building at Utah State University Moab: www.mhtn.com/usu-moab