Hamilton Anderson Associates Celebrates 25 Years and Becoming Largest Black Owned Architectural Firm in Detroit

Rainy Hamilton Jr. is on a mission. For the last 25 years, Detroit’s most celebrated African-American architect has been focused on his mission of serving the people in the city he loves so dearly. His efforts have catapulted Hamilton Anderson Associates (HAA) into becoming Detroit’s largest black owned architectural firm.

“A project is not just a building,” says. Hamilton, of Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and member of the National Organization of Minority Architects. “A building and site serve people engaged in the business of life. My mission, going back to my time at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture, has been to create designs that strengthen communities and enable people to live richer, fuller lives.  At HAA we are helping to rebuild Detroit one building, one block, one neighborhood at a time.” He added, “Our portfolio of recreational, educational, industrial, health care, religious, commercial office, retail and mixed-use projects can be seen in Detroit, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Atlanta.”

Rainy Hamilton

This approach allows the 40-member HAA team to create functional and inclusive designs that uplift the overall character of the place created. Their approach earned HAA the 2019 American Institute of Architects’ Michigan Firm of the Year Award. The HAA approach improves a project’s ability to realize success and goodwill without sacrificing the environment or its long-term economic sustainability.

Case in point, the HAA team worked closely with the developers of the Hamilton at Midtown, formerly the Milner-Arms Hotel, to renovate the building to modern living standards.  The result was a unique renovation and preservation approach that allowed current tenants to return after construction and provided them temporary living space during construction. HAA’s creative input allowed for affordable units blended with market-rate apartments and first-class amenities.  The building has attracted a mixture of diverse incomes and occupations in an upscale living environment.  The developer’s branding for the project include using Hamilton’s family name which he accepted in honor of his recently deceased brother and father.

“First do no harm, has value beyond being the doctor’s Hippocratic Oath” says Hamilton. “When applied to architectural and landscape architectural design, this principle powers our ability to solve problems in ways that ultimately increase the overall value of our clients’ projects economically, environmentally and aesthetically. Our clients aren’t just customers. They are our trusted business partners we work with to support their mission, vision and economics of the task at hand. We make dreams come true.”

Some of the firm’s better-known Detroit and environs projects include:

  • City Modern Detroit / Brush Park Masterplan
  • Motown Museum Expansion
  • Anthony Wayne Drive Residence Hall
  • Elton Park
  • Detroit School of the Arts
  • The Strathmore Apartments
  • DOW Gardens
  • Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church
  • Youthville (currently, Franklin-Wright Settlements)
  • Wayne County Community Education Building, NW Campus
  • Washington Boulevard Improvements
  • Belle Isle Masterplan
  • Fort Wayne Masterplan
  • MGM Grand Detroit Casino & Hotel
  • Detroit /Wayne County Port Authority Building
  • Wells Hall MSU
  • Hudson’ Site
  • Detroit Public Safety Building
  • Little Caesars Arena
  • Norma G’s Detroit

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