An old brick school building on the west side of Baltimore today offers 150 beds to the city’s homeless families, double the number it held a few years ago. On the east side, an expanded resource center now provides 300 people a day with both meals and pathways out of poverty.
The common thread?
Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects, and, in particular, the firm’s long commitment to projects across Baltimore that boost both Charm City’s beauty and its benevolence. It’s a tradition that makes employees proud.
“It’s almost like there’s a higher reason for what you’re doing on those projects,” said Lauren Myatt, Principal at Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects. “You’re helping to create a positive change for people and the community.”
Commitment from community stakeholders
More than half a million people were found to be homeless in the United States on a single January night last year, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
It’s a statistic that stands out to the organizers of “The Journey Home,” a Baltimore-based organization that strives to make homelessness a rare and brief experience in the city.
Combating that statistic requires commitment from all community stakeholders – and it’s a struggle that Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects has been passionate about defeating.
Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects was one of several sponsors of this year’s "An Evening of Unexpected Delights,” an annual fundraiser to benefit The Journey Home. The event, which featured musical guests “The Roots” and Leslie Odom Jr. of "Hamilton,” was a reminder of how the Baltimore community can rise above with the support of the private sector.
A way to start again at Sarah’s Hope
Too often, homeless men and their families in Baltimore have nowhere to go.
That was part of the drive for the recent renovation and expansion of the Sarah’s Hope family shelter in Sandtown-Winchester. The $8 million project sought to transform the old school building, built in the 1930s, providing interior and exterior renovations and growing it into the largest family shelter in the city of Baltimore.
“It was exciting, but it was also very challenging,” Myatt said. “We tried to incorporate a lot of smart, cost-effective solutions.”
Inside, the building needed a more modern and dignified look, and the new layout included use of the two upper floors of the building, previously not utilized. Outside, Murphy & Dittenhafer’s design brought improved accessibility, large areas of green space and better lighting and landscaping.
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More services will be offered to both parents and children, and the large expansion will mean that the shelter, which is run by St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, can now serve about 200 families each year.
“Murphy and Dittenhafer were a valuable part of the development team for the new Sarah’s Hope family shelter,” said John Schiavone, President & CEO of St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore. “Their creative approach allowed for the adaptive reuse of a former school building and created what is now a warm, welcoming, temporary home for homeless families that has been transformative for the program.”
The design even included space for two new playgrounds – recently completed with the help of 200 community volunteers.
“It’s nice to think those children will now get to do the things all children should be able to do,” Myatt said.
Filling bellies at Beans and Bread
Just a few years back, demand at a day resource program in East Baltimore had outgrown the historic building in which it was housed. The local homeless couldn’t get all the services they needed.
For Myatt, work at the “Beans and Bread” building in Fells Point represented the intersection of two interests: community-centered projects and historical preservation. The subsequent design included interior renovations and a large addition to the existing building, one that kept the integrity of the original site while seamlessly incorporating a new space for expanded services.
“The neighborhood took a real interest, and we wanted to make sure everything fit just right,” Myatt said.
Today, volunteers with the program serve 300 meals daily, and those in need receive health care and help with hygiene. The site offers laundry services and telephone access, and staff provides employment services and housing referrals.
A helping hand is being offered to more people than ever.
Look across Baltimore and you’ll find Murphy & Dittenhafer’s work stitched with care into the fabric of the city.
And whatever the project – from nonprofits to churches to museums—when there’s an element of community involved, Myatt said, the desire to get everything just right is even greater than usual.
Because you know how much it might mean to someone.
“These are landmarks for people, places they might visit at great points or not so great points in their life,” she said. “To work on places like that where you know how much it will matter is just exceptionally rewarding.”
The firm brings new life to older properties as it makes them more relevant for how people live and work today.
As time and styles change, churches today are continuously trying to find new ways to welcome people into their worship and fellowship spaces.
Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects works with closely with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to update aging buildings.
Jonathan Taube’s keen interest in searching for the story in his work aligns well with Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects’ approach to projects.
Todd Grove, who joined the firm in 1987, ‘has a way of maximizing the potential of anything that he works on.’
The goal for Murphy & Dittenhafer’s portion of the project is to preserve the authentic exterior appearance and make interior improvements that align with the period and style of the building.
From a new student commons in York to a mechatronics lab in Gettysburg, M&D’s attention to detail makes each student’s day a little better.
The Springettsbury Twp. building is undergoing extensive renovation that will bring new purpose to this historic property.
The transformation of the former Weinbrom Jewelers building on the corner of West Market and Beaver streets in Downtown York, Pa., continues to progress.
The Elizabethtown gallery owner and designer shares the firm’s passion for adaptive reuse and urban revitalization.
With adaptive reuse and historical preservation in mind, Peter Schwab brings his love of the past into his everyday work as an architect.
Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects' work can be found all over the city of York. In just a few square miles, we've contributed to more than 40 buildings over the past several years. Rather than simply list every project, we decided to make a little game out of it.
Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects’ founder and principal says his frequent visits to the Canadian province centers and recalibrates his design sensibilities.
M&D's Lauren Myatt "is one of those rare individuals who sees both the big picture and the critical small details of architectural commissions with equal clarity."
Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects' long commitment to projects across Baltimore that boost both Charm City’s beauty and its benevolence is a tradition that makes employees proud.
Associate Ryan Shank continues to grow as an architect, adding value to the firm, clients and community.
M&D's design approach for the New Lexington Market focuses on fostering a positive experience and an engaging environment for the customers, vendors and visitors – both inside the building and outside the walls between Eutaw and Paca streets.
The vision was to maintain the historic character of the Classic Revival Market Street entrance, magnificent stairhall and formal “parlor type” front rooms, in conjunction with select modernizations.
The renovation at York Central Market and the design of Harrisburg Area Community College’s Advanced Technology Center & Library/Learning Center are two projects of great pride for Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects.
From the Washington County Senior Center in Maryland to the Reid Menzer Memorial Skatepark in York County, Pa., Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects was recognized for its design contributions to community improvement projects.
The local American Institute of Architects chapter recently recognized a Philadelphia University Architecture student with this year’s Central Pennsylvania Architects Foundation Fund Architecture Scholarship.
Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects' design changes to the Martin House were reviewed for historical accuracy with a steady eye on authenticity to the period.
Preservation Pennsylvania honored Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects with two 2016 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards during a ceremony Oct. 14 at the Yorktowne Hotel in downtown York.
Jonathan and Drew Scott of multiple hit HGTV shows are coming to York in November thanks in part to corporate sponsors including Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects.
Murphy & Dittenhafer's goal was to work with the church’s character, while also balancing the current needs of the congregation and the current ways the building is being used.
Frank Dittenhafer (Class of 1978) was first elected to the Penn State Architecture Alumni Group board six years ago, serving for four years as a board member before being elected as that body’s president for two one-year terms. He remains on the board today, as the most recent past president as his tenure ended on June 30th.
While Murphy & Dittenhafer’s interior design department has been transforming interior spaces for decades, the expansion and relocation of the design department from the Hotel Codorus to “c o d” in June spurred the firm to officially launch and brand M&D Interiors.
Two Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects projects were recently named recipients of Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards: The Zimmerman Center for Heritage has been selected to receive an Initiative Award in Education, while The Forum Auditorium has been selected to receive a Construction-Public & Institutional Properties award.
Want a sneak peek inside the F.W. Woolworth Department Store at 44-50 West Market Street? Check out these photos.
Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects, along with partner the Time Group, recently embarked on what will be a six-month review and evaluation of the Northwest Triangle in York, with an eye toward new construction on the land, which takes its name from a bend in the Codorus Creek it borders.