There are scant few architects or interior designers in the country who know the private club industry like Richard (Dick) Heise. In the early 1990s, Heise and team turned his boutique architectural firm, HRMA of Minneapolis, into a club-centric shop and by late in the decade, had completed more than 90 projects — including such notable clubs as Seattle’s Sahalee (home of the Firestone Golf Tournament), NCR in Dayton, Ohio, and the Women’s Club of Minneapolis. Heise and team gave up their retail clientele, including Dayton Hudson/Macy’s and B. Dalton Booksellers to focus 100 percent of their energy on the club business.
The Women’s Club remains one of Dick’s favorite projects. “It went so far beyond simply architecture,” says Heise, who marveled at the integrity of the 1920s-built property, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “We made it a state-of-the-art facility — while maintaining every bit of its historical accuracy,” he says. “Architecturally, you can’t tell it from its original design.”
Versed in everything from space considerations unique to the club industry, land use requirements and architectural and design considerations for blending clubhouse and golf course land use, to the laws that require clubs to cater equally to women to maintain nonprofit tax status, Dick has designed clubs from Minnesota and Iowa to California and Washington state. Chambers lured him earlier this year to join its now industry-leading team of private club specialists. “We couldn’t have found a better partner to help us expand our Club Studio,” says Chambers’ President and CEO Rick Snellinger, himself a veteran of the club industry, with expertise in strategic and master planning. “And he rounds out our portfolio of clubs across the country.” Chambers has designed more than 400 clubs nationwide.
Dick holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Minnesota and is a continual student of the industry, participating frequently in Harvard’s continuing education program for architecture. He speaks nationally on trends and issues affecting private country and city clubs.