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Murphy & Dittenhafer Receives State Award for Historic Preservation

Murphy & Dittenhafer’s work on Schmucker Hall, at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, was recognized by Preservation Pennsylvania at the 2014 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards ceremony on Friday, September 26 at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA.

The awards, which have been presented annually since 1979, honor those projects that exemplify the core values of historic preservation. The 2014 selection committee commented:

“This rehabilitation project utilized federal rehabilitation investment tax credits, which required adherence to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and the preservation of the building’s character-defining features. The project involved accessibility upgrades, structural stabilization, roof replacement, reconstruction of lost elements including the east entry stairs and the 1914 Peace Portico.

The resulting space provides a venue for a state-of-the-art interpretive museum...Schmucker Hall has been rehabilitated to provide a unique venue that invites the public to actively engage in stories related to the history of the building, site and region.”

Frank Dittenhafer II, FAIA, LEED AP, Murphy & Dittenhafer principal-in-charge for the Schmucker Hall/Seminary Ridge Museum rehabilitation, stated, “It was truly a privilege to be the architect for this landmark project and work with a dedicated team of collaborators over several years - from the initial adaptive reuse concept planning through the final restoration and repair of historic components. The design, planning, and construction process was extremely positive and the final outcome exceptional.

In addition to Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects, the award honored the project’s other partners, including: Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation, Adams County Historical Society, Delta Development Group, Inc., Whiting Turner Contracting Company, and Morgan-Keller, Inc.

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Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects is an award-winning architectural firm that focuses on planning, interior, and architectural design projects involving new construction, renovation, restoration, and adaptive reuse for historic properties, churches, urban housing, nonprofit organizations, higher education, and libraries. The firm’s offices are located in York, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Maryland. Visit their website at



25 years of Design Awards

When the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) was preparing for their 50-year design awards retrospective last year, they contacted Murphy & Dittenhafer for information on projects they had recognized during M&D’s 25-year history.

The team at Murphy & Dittenhafer doesn’t enter into their projects expecting to receive awards and accolades upon completion, so they were surprised when they began to tally and realized they’d received 25 design awards – from AIA Baltimore alone – since 1993. The list reflects how well-rounded the firm is in its capabilities and expertise.

“What struck me,” says Frank Dittenhafer, “and what is meaningful, is the diversity of the projects that had been recognized, and continue to be recognized.” They don’t fall into any one category, and very few are high-profile projects supported by significant financial resources.

“Many of the projects,” Dittenhafer says, “are small, modest endeavors and involve buildings that are ordinary or not in the best condition, and they’ve received recognition for all types of uses and clients.”

The breadth of their work is clear when you look at the overall list of awards they’ve received since 1993 – a total of 167 architectural design, historic preservation, and craftsmanship awards. 

At one end of the Murphy & Dittenhafer design spectrum are projects like the Peach Bottom Recreation Center in Delta, PA, a $100,000 project to add a community gathering place in a small town. At the other end are initiatives like the Hippodrome Theare in Baltimore, MD, a $60 million restoration and preservation project. In between are a wide variety of commissions including Codo241, Ribbon Place Lofts, Byrnes Health Education Center, JCC of York, The Penn State Pullo Center/Glatfelter Library, and the Roosevelt Park pool pavilion in Baltimore. The small pavilion structure is the point of entry for a Baltimore City pool site, and it won the Grand Design Award from Baltimore AIA in 2009. 

Murphy & Dittenhafer walked away with two of the five awards presented at the Central PA AIA design awards last fall. One of them was the Good Design is Good Business award for their work on the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. It was the first time the Central PA chapter had given that particular award and it recognized Murphy & Dittenhafer’s “brilliant design and programming move that gave new life to the insitution.” 

The firm has worked with nonprofit organizations, government authorities, religious groups, colleges and universities, arts facilities, parks, low-income housing projects, and high-end lofts in abandoned warehouses. Some of their starting points were buildings that were in remarkable states of decline. They’ve come to be known for this variety, as well as consistent quality, a creative approach, and careful use of client resources, and others have taken notice. They’ve been recognized most every year over the last 20-25 years with awards bestowed by peer organizations with juries from across the country, as well as local preservation recognition from the likes of Historic York, Baltimore Heritage, and Preservation Pennsylvania. 

Murphy & Dittenhafer does a lot of work with existing historic or older buildings, and they take a sustainable approach to accommodate clients’ requirements for facilities and space that address current and future needs. Dittenhafer says it’s particularly meaningful to receive preservation awards, sometimes alongside design awards, for restoring, repairing, and renovating.

“They mean a lot, in addition to the architectural design awards,” he says. “We not only have a lot of respect for historic and existing buildings, but we certainly understand the reality that you have to supplement what exists sometimes for new, current-day needs. The recognition confirms that others feel the same way, that we have strong capabilities in doing that in a very sensitive and exciting way.”

Awards and Recognition
1993 – Present


AIA Central PA            
AIA Pennsylvania            
AIA Maryland                
AIA Baltimore            
10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania    
Historic York                
Preservation Pennsylvania        
Preservation Maryland     
Baltimore Heritage            
Associated Builders & Contractors  
Building Congress