Case Studies

Hamilton Anderson Associates Inc.

Holistic, Creative Design Solutions for Urban Environments

Rainy Hamilton Jr. founded Hamilton Anderson Associates Inc. (HAA) in 1994 as a multidisciplinary architecture and design firm in Detroit, Mich. Hamilton was joined by partner Kent Anderson, and for nearly two decades the business has continued to grow, providing architectural and landscape architectural services, as well as diverse design and planning services to clients across a range of sectors. HAA utilizes a holistic approach to design, taking into account buildings, their surroundings and the people who occupy those environments.

Hamilton got hooked on architecture early on, and attended Cass Technical High School through the institution’s architecture, civil, construction and technology program. A passion from a young age for art, design, construction and building models made Hamilton a natural fit for the program. After graduating, he attended the University of Detroit’s Mercy School of Architecture where he earned his bachelor’s degree.

Today, Hamilton works with a team of 60 professionals between three offices. The company’s headquarters remains in Detroit with two additional locations in Las Vegas and New Orleans. HAA’s unique approach to design has attracted clients across the country and beyond. The team has worked on design projects as far away as China and as close to home as downtown Detroit.

Diverse Services

HAA offers architectural services, as well as interior design, urban design and planning. “Our niche is not a building type,” Hamilton explains, “It is our ability to develop holistic, creative design solutions for urban environments.”

The company’s process consists of conversations with clients to develop a complete understanding of the goals and mission of the project. HAA’s ever-expanding portfolio includes higher education facilities, hospitality, health care, recreational facilities, campus and institutional master plans, as well as parks and streetscapes.

In order to offer a full service design solution, the company often works with specialized consultants to meet clients’ needs in the most effective manner possible; such needs often extend beyond a client’s physical requirements for a space.

In addition to site development and structures, HAA assists clients develop economics and brand image. “We are diverse in thought, background and culture that reflect the world today,” Hamilton notes. “This richness is at the core of our culture and practice.”

Such factors have offered the business a competitive advantage in the market. To cultivate a regional culture motivated by improving the surrounding environment, the company has developed RogueHAA, a venue for discussion and developing ideas across a broad range of design and environmental topics.

A Strong Portfolio

Over the years, HAA has helped shape urban environments across the globe. Working with both private and public clients, the team has built up a strong portfolio that reflects its broad capabilities. Recently, the team completed the design for a new instructional facility at Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) on the educational system’s Northwest Campus in Detroit.

“This state-of-the-art instructional facility will support the district’s nursing education program as the health care industry continues to need additional professionals to meet an ever-increasing demand,” Hamilton explains. “We assisted the district in developing the program for the project to deliver and meet the stringent budget requirements of the state of Michigan and WCCCD.”

HAA worked closely with the administration to develop the final scope of work, which includes a new instructional building and addition, a new central power plant and site improvements, including landscaped gathering spaces. These new structures are seeking LEED Platinum certification, with sustainability features that include photovoltaic power generation, nighttime ice generation for daytime cooling, geothermal heating and cooling, as well as gray water plumbing. Hamilton’s team estimates the new facility will use 50 percent less energy and 30 percent less water than a typical code compliant building.

The team also completed the design for the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority Terminal and Public Dock on the Detroit River. According to Hamilton, a recent rise in tourism has encouraged the progress of the project. The port allows cruise and cargo ships to dock in the city via the Great Lakes. More than just a receiving area for goods and visitors, the facility’s design incorporates a meeting and banquet space that has garnered interest.

The space generates additional revenue for the port. “Our process also developed the site and building strategy to nestle the structure into a constricted site with adjacent major utilities, deteriorated sea wall and the tunnel to Windsor Ontario nearby,” Hamilton elaborates. “The simple, yet elegant structure and dock have been well received by all, including the neighboring General Motors headquarters.”

HAA’s diverse design capabilities allowed the business to grow successfully, even throughout the worst years of the recent economic downturn. Detroit and other cities are growing, which fosters new opportunities for design firms such as HAA. In the coming years, Hamilton hopes to expand his team’s geographic footprint even further. While Detroit is home for the firm, the crew wants to continue to improve hometowns all over the country and beyond.

“We will celebrate 20 years in practice in 2014,” Hamilton explains. “We are thrilled to be a part of the rebuilding of the great city of Detroit and surrounding communities. I am especially proud, as a resident and native Detroiter, to have our headquarters in downtown Detroit. Our goal is to continue to build upon our portfolio of well-designed and crafted built solutions for our clients.” With urban renewal on the rise, Hamilton Anderson Associates Inc. is looking ahead to unique opportunities to approach with curiosity, skill and integrity.

Published on: July 10, 2014

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