Frederick "Rick" Hammann, AIA, former Director of Multifamily and Managing Principal, whose leadership was integral to WDG becoming a nationally recognized multifamily design firm, passed away on Sunday, January 21st, 2024.
A product of Baltimore, Maryland, Rick’s architectural voyage began in the 60’s, “High above the Cayuga waters,” Rick said, “at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, looking down on the largest of New York’s finger lakes.” In 1968, Rick graduated from Cornell, receiving both a Bachelor of Architecture and Master’s in Urban Design.
Embarking on what would be a 52-year design career, Rick began as a planner with the Baltimore City Planning Department, then moved onto prominent planning and multifamily design firms such as CSD, where he learned from Alex Cochran, James Stephenson, and Richard Donkervoet. His career continued, working for the National Corporation for Housing Partnerships, Cella Barr Associates in Arizona, Marriot’s Continuing Retirement Communities, and Martin Architectural Group, before heading back to CSD in Baltimore.
By the time Rick got to WDG, he had master planned acres upon acres of mixed-use developments and retirement communities and had designed tens of thousands of multifamily units across the country. The late George Dove, former WDG Managing Principal, said, “Hiring Rick Hammann was the smartest thing WDG ever did.” Rick joined WDG in 2000 as Director of Multifamily Residential and Senior Living. His arrival marked a transformative period for the firm, as he brought his three plus decades of expertise in planning, design, and zoning for various housing types. Rick's unparalleled skill set encompassed every facet of the development process, from initial planning and zoning to construction, and demonstrated his commitment to excellence.
In a short time, Rick "made it rain" with a client he brought with him, and gained the trust of WDG’s current clients. At the time, no one knew that WDG had hired one of the most prolific rain makers in its storied history. Rick’s ascension was quick, and after 3 years as a director, he was elevated to Principal. Two years later, in 2005, he was named a Managing Principal.
Rick grew relationships with national clients like JPI, Fairfield, Trammel Crow, and Mill Creek. In the early 2000s, Rick's relationship with Fairfield Residential led to two major residential projects produced by our Dallas office, which would cement WDG's presence in the Dallas Multifamily market and subsequently led to further projects in other markets. Rick's relationship with Mill Creek Residential further expanded WDG's geographic reach with multiple projects in Georgia and Florida. Coupled with the Dallas office's westward expansion and our Student Living projects taking us into the South and Midwest, Rick Hammann played a huge role in establishing WDG as a national firm.
Rick's portfolio reflected his dedication to creating vibrant, sustainable living spaces. From the striking Monarch and Park Crest in Tysons, VA, to the understated Berkshire 15, Potomac Place, and Insignia on M in Washington, DC, and Gallery Bethesda I & II in Bethesda, MD, his projects left an indelible mark. His vision extended beyond individual buildings to encompass master plans like Arbor Row and Taylor Plaza in Tysons, VA, showcasing his commitment to holistic urban development.
Under Rick's guidance as Director of the Multifamily Practice, WDG consistently ranked among the top 15 multifamily design firms in the United States. His philosophy, encapsulated in the quote below, exemplified his dedication to the craft and the long-term success of WDG as a successful and sustainable business.
Rick was not only a skilled architect but a charismatic and positive force within WDG. He often said, "My favorite project is the next project." That mentality reflected his continuous drive for innovation and excellence. Rick's leadership, energy, and positivity were integral to WDG becoming a national leader in multifamily residential design.
Rick is survived by his wife of 55 years, Helen, and his daughters, Nicole, and Karen.
“If we do our current projects to the very best of our ability, our clients will be successful, which leads to repeat business, and ultimately strengthens relationships with our clients.”
Rick Hammann, AIA