Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects were recognized with an Architectural Excellence Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Pennsylvania for their work on the Forum Auditorium in Harrisburg, PA.
Over 35 firms and individuals across the Commonwealth were honored for excellence in design and innovation, contributions to the profession of Architecture and commitment to the quality of life in the built environment. The Architectural Excellence recipients were selected by a jury panel from AIA New York City, chaired by internationally acclaimed architect, Thomas Phifer, FAIA. The winners were selected from over 150 project submissions. Murphy & Dittenhafer was the only Central Pennsylvania-based firm to receive a State Design Award.
Murphy & Dittenhafer’s work included interior and exterior renovations/restorations to the historic Forum Building at Fifth and Walnut Streets in Harrisburg, PA - within the Capitol Complex. The Forum Auditorium, a 17,000-square foot space within the 300,000-square foot Forum Building, is a historically-significant part of the structure, originally conceived as the Commonwealth’s education building, and now serving as the State Library. The Auditorium, originally used as a lecture hall, has more recently been home to the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, and used as an adjunct performance venue for the Whitaker Center to accommodate larger audiences and provide a unique venue within the City of Harrisburg for special events.
The Forum project is a quintessential example of Murphy & Dittenhafer’s detailed approach to renovations/restorations to historic landmarks: providing a high-quality result on time, under budget, and with careful consideration for preserving the past while accommodating current needs.
“The Forum Auditorium is one of the most magnificent assembly and performance spaces anywhere in the United States - on par with architectural landmark venues in cities much larger than Harrisburg,” says Frank Dittenhafer II, FAIA, LEED AP, owner and co-founder of Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects. “It has been a privilege for Murphy & Dittenhafer to contribute our talents to the restoration and rehabilitation of this art deco masterpiece. This project was definitely a labor of love, where we collaborated with artisans, contractors, craftsmen, and the PA Department of General Services to significantly improve the audience and performer experience within this remarkable space in a very sensitive and deferential manner. We worked very hard to ensure that the final outcome of this restoration seamlessly enhanced the majesty and brilliance of the original 1931 design.”
AIA Pennsylvania hosted their Architectural Excellence Gala in October 2015 at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts. Murphy & Dittenhafer was the only firm from Central Pennsylvania to receive a State Design Award in this year’s awards program.