History and Leadership

HBRA was founded in 1961 by James Wright Hammond, who conceived the practice as an opportunity to work personally with clients through all phases of the design and construction process. Mr. Hammond believed that collaboration between client and architect produces the finest buildings. This approach has been developed over thirty-nine years and a range of building types by Thomas Beeby, who joined the firm in 1971, and his partners Dennis Rupert and Gary Ainge. Today the tradition begun by Mr. Hammond continues under the leadership of Aric Lasher, who joined the firm in 1985.

HBRA has maintained its offices in Chicago since its founding. In an attempt to bring the sophistication of a large firm to a more personal manner of practice, the firm designs buildings for a range of purposes and scales; these include museums, performing arts centers, libraries, academic buildings, religious buildings, residences, office buildings, urban and campus master plans, and renovations of historic buildings. We are recognized for designing projects that require sensitivity to existing contexts, as well as an ability to translate design challenges at any scale into meaningful and enduring structures that are responsive to client needs and specific site conditions.

Thomas H. Beeby

Thomas Beeby joined James Hammond in 1971. In 1972 the firm became Hammond Beeby and Associates. Over thirty-nine years, during most of which time he served as the firm's Director of Design, Mr. Beeby oversaw the design of a range of projects that includes museums, libraries, university buildings, theater and performing arts centers, urban and campus master plans, high-rise and suburban office buildings, renovations of historic structures, religious buildings, retail projects, housing developments, and private residences.

Mr. Beeby is the 2013 Driehaus Award recipient presented through the University of Notre Dame. This award recognizes lifetime contributions to traditional, Classical, and sustainable architecture in the modern world. Mr. Beeby was Dean of the Yale University School of Architecture from 1985 to 1991, and later served as Adjunct Professor of Architecture. He was Director of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 1980 to 1985, and Associate Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology from 1978 to 1980. Mr. Beeby lectures widely and has been lecturer or jury critic at Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Rice University, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia. He has participated in numerous symposia including the Smithsonian Institution, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Royal Institute of British Architects, and the American Institute of Architects.

Mr. Beeby is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Dennis E. Rupert

Mr. Rupert joined HBRA in 1979 and served as Principal from 1983 until 2019. In that time, he oversaw diverse projects, including libraries, university buildings, museums, and religious facilities. HBRA projects under Mr. Rupert's direction included those for Princeton University, the University of Oregon, and the General Services Administration.

Noteworthy award-winning projects for which Mr. Rupert was Principal-in-Charge include the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Building at the Art Institute of Chicago; the Toledo Museum of Art Master Plan and renovation; and the Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago.

Mr. Rupert is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.