Hannes Richter

Guntram Weissenberger

Hannes Richter

Guntram Weissenberger grew up under Fascism, survived the Communist era  and made a difference in the U.S.
Like many of his post-war generation, it was the lure of challenge, opportunity and ambition which brought the young man to America during the early years following World War II.

His European roots were fostered by a sense of close community and determined his choice of direction: that of providing social justice through affordable housing to the working masses. Through his models of efficient planning and construction, Weissenberger created livable communities for thousands of people outside of Philadelphia and throughout Delaware during the post-war building boom of the 50s and 60s and thereafter. He not only designed apartments, row houses, single family homes, supermarkets and offices, but bought the land upon which they were to reside. And he implemented their financing, development and management for thirty years following. For this he received numerous awards, including the prestigious Austrians Abroad Award in 2000.

Willow Run. Guntram Weissenberger.

Born in Frankenmarkt in Upper Austria in 1926, Guntram Weissenberger was exposed to hard work and discipline at a very early age, which proved to be invaluable later on in his ‘will to succeed.’ His educational credentials were impeccable. Beginning with schooling at a private boarding school, followed by studies at the Technical Institutes in Vienna and Graz, MIT and Harvard, he earned advanced degrees in Architecture, Engineering and Business, which served him well beyond his professional career. His defeat of cancer and his abilities as an accomplished sportsman and artist complete a picture of the best of his generation.

Norriton East Apartments. Guntram Weissenberger.

In reflecting upon his achievements, he remarks: “My activities have been governed by a fairly consistent philosophy as to how I should live my life. The key element is the recognition that the society in which we live is a fragile thing that cannot be endlessly exploited for personal benefit. The pursuit of happiness for its own sake is fruitless. It comes as a by-product of other activities.” For Weissenberger, those activities were engendered by a strong entrepreneurial spirit, “hard work and accidental opportunity.”

Willow Run. Guntram Weissenberger.

Memories of his extraordinary life have been compiled in a recent book entitled, My Town. A Builder’s Life by Guntram Weissenberger, published by Swan Books 2006 with Hans Janischek as publisher; Pine Plains, NY; ISBN: 0-9785258-1-7