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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Black-owned firm leading architecture, engagement for prominent projects

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Meticulous Design + Architecture, a Black-owned firm, is one of the leaders on two major projects in African American communities in Indianapolis, and its founding partners see a chance to both honor and inspire the community through their work.

Meticulous Design is heading community engagement for the project at the former Oaktree Apartments site on the far east side, along with the architecture and design for the new family center at Frederick Douglass Park.

The firm, which started six years ago, is based in Indianapolis and has an office in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Brian Robinson, one the founding partners, said it’s important to stay involved with communities even before a project officially starts. That way, when it comes time for committees and listening sessions, the process hopefully feels more natural for residents.

Meticulous Design was involved in building one of the library’s newest branches in Martindale-Brightwood, so the team was already familiar with the neighborhood by the time they started with Frederick Douglass Park.

“That’s what’s really key and vital to all of this,” Robinson said. “We have to keep that relationship with the community so we have that trust.”

Damon Hewlin, a founding partner, said architecture impacts everyone, whether that’s in education, work or recreation. Part of the firm’s goal, he said, is getting people to realize their community doesn’t need all the luxury and money of a place like Carmel or Fishers to have nice things.

It’s important they bring “the absolute best” to projects in African American neighborhoods, founding partner Ramon Morrison said, because that level of commitment isn’t always a guarantee, and it could set a good example for residents.

Only 6% of people who work in architecture, engineering and related services are African American, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“It’s not lost on us that that’s also a point of inspiration and hopefully aspiration for folks that look like us and come from the communities that we’ve come from,” Morrison said.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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