Monthly Archives: January 2010


In October 2009, Hamilton Anderson Associates presented the Detroit School of Arts at the Arts Schools Network Conference in Washington D.C.

Located in Detroit’s Midtown District, the Detroit School of Arts (DSA) is a progressive high school of choice, offering a dual-focus curriculum in the fine / performing arts and broadcast/media arts. The DSA brings an innovative educational approach to the Detroit Public School district, blending college prep within a dynamic and interactive learning environment.

The six-story building features many unique academic, performance and production spaces, including the 800-seat Ford Theater, a 20-seat recital hall, a black box theater, arts studios and galleries, as well as a vocal and instrumental music rehearsal rooms.  The Communications Production Center (CPC) houses two state of the art television production studios, WRCJ-FM Radio, and digital media editing suites.  The top-floor media center and dining hall spaces afford students expansive views of the city’s downtown skyline.  The innovative design was conceived and refined through close collaboration with specialty consultants, user groups and Detroit Public Schools.  Throughout the design process, all aspects of the site, building and the related systems and materials were considered and developed with a commitment to sustainability and integrated design.  As a result, the Detroit School of Arts was the first LEED certified building in the City of Detroit.

To download the complete slideshow as presented at the Arts Schools Network Conference, click here.

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PHIL COOLEY — EVENT 05 “Challenging Detroit: (Re)generating Urbanism”

lecturesHAA is dedicated to creating a broader creative discourse through open and collaborative dialogue. The program includes lectures and discussions throughout the year that will consider important contemporary design issues associated with the urban environment.

The initial program for 2009 + 2012 will be “Challenging Detroit: (Re)generating Urbanism.” This program will provide an important platform for consideration of innovative, multidisciplinary strategies designed to help the city not only create reinvestment and redevelopment, but also begin to regenerate the social, economic and environmental attributes that define it. Now, more than ever, we need to come together to understand how we can effectively participate in the thoughtful, creative regeneration of Detroit.

While it is relatively unconventional for a professional design firm such as Hamilton Anderson Associates to create and coordinate a lecture program such as this, we feel that by leveraging our resources and interests in design, we may more fully establish a fertile exchange of ideas that helps to bridge the gap between the creative community and the community at-large.

The public is encouraged to attend these free events. Please return to rogueHAA for future dates and topics.


“In activating a community, including everyone lets a sense of ownership and pride develop. Possibility replaces despair and slowly a city opens it arms. A resource that this community is not lacking is strength. Only together will we be able to overcome our perceived, great obstacles. We must no longer see an abandoned building as blight, but as a natural resource, a city without a chain grocer as a food desert, but as an opportunity to live in a city with access to fresh and sustainably raised produce provided by butchers, bakers and other culinary artisans.  I wake every day in Detroit, inspired by the great tasks ahead, both challenging and rewarding. President Obama, Brad and Angelina are not coming to help. Fortunately, we are better off without them.” – Phil Cooley

February 16
Johanson Charles Gallery
1345 Division Eastern Market

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Paying Respect to our Detroit Elders: Housing Narrative – Part 2

[Part two in a series chronicling our experiences assisting the Detroit Housing Commission (DHC).  For further description, refer to our first housing narrative post.]

House No. 3: My car’s wipers intermittently clear our line of sight.  My colleague and I drive past two vacant homes, a vacant school, three vacant lots, and a vacant business.  Finally, we turn onto a block where most of the houses seem to be intact.  The rain is pouring down and we are unprepared.  Holding clip boards over our heads, we make a dash to the home’s covered porch.

We ring the doorbell.  “Who is it?” an elderly woman yells through a door that remains locked.  I answer that we are doing a survey for the Detroit Housing Commission.  “I don’t know anything about a survey” she answers.  I offer that she can call someone with the Housing Commission and she can confirm our presence with them.  The door cracks open.  She asks for ID.  I offer her a photoless ID as I also start to call my contact at the Housing Commission.  Handing the phone to her, she speaks to the person.  After a brief conversation, she re-opens the door and only allows me inside.  My colleague is left to stand in the rain.  I begin the survey.  The elderly woman silently follows me into every room. Continue reading

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“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture – it’s a really stupid thing to want to do” -Elvis Costello

lecturesHAA : Event 4.   With the tempo of a beatnik and a black turtleneck sweater to match, Craig Wilkins free-formed one December evening before an intimate crowd at the Johanson Charles Gallery.   Neither traditional presentation nor musical jam session, his lecture entitled “Dancing about Architecture…Part 3”, ebbed and flowed in accordance with the accompanying music.  Miles Davis.  Nelly.  John Coltrane.  Lil’ Kim.  Brazilian Salsa.  Public Enemy.  Each musical style provided a unique lens in which to view an architect’s design process and their resulting built form.  Brazilian Salsa directly influenced Gaudi’s Parc GuelleJosephine Baker provided inspiration for both Adolf LoosVilla Baker and Le Corbusier’s City of AlgiersJames Brown infiltrated South America, thereby evolving the favelas of Brazil.  Hip Hop music prompts Rural Studio and the dramatic sampling of found materials.

Dancing about architecture.  As the fourth presenter in the lecturesHAA series, Craig Wilkins has worked internationally as a designer, project architect, urban designer, and academic. Providing history for his lecturesHAA topic and further clarifying the “…Part 3” portion of his lecture title, Dr. Wilkins explained that he has previously written and lectured extensively on hip hop architecture and “The Aesthetics of Equity: Notes on race, space, architecture, and music.”  His December 15th discussion expanded these previous investigations.  Wilkins immediately acknowledged that in the most simplistic terms, architecture can take a literal form of music…imagine a rock n’ roll museum in the shape of a guitar or treble clef.  However, providing a catalogue of crude musical interpretations was not the goal of his lecture.  Instead, he analyzed the musical genres of jazz, salsa, and hip-hop, ultimately proposing that architects should evolve their own antiquated design process by implementing specific portions of the musician’s creative process. Continue reading

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