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Announcing Two New Hires

Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects announces the firm’s two most recent hires. Both joined the Murphy & Dittenhafer team as Architectural Project Managers in August 2014.

Ryan Shank holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Drexel University. He previously worked for Curtis Architecture + Design (Wyndmoor, PA) and Raphael Architects (Doylestown, PA). He is a licensed architect and particularly interested in adaptive reuse, heavy timber construction, sustainable design, and integrating buildings with the surrounding environment and context. One of his current projects involves the mixed-use redevelopment of twenty buildings located within a square block in the West Side district for Baltimore Development Corporation. He is a member of AIA Central Pennsylvania.

 

Kevin Stick, former project manager at Facilities Planners + Architects (Harrisburg, PA), is a graduate of Harrisburg Area Community College, where he earned an Associate Degree in Architecture. He has over 30 years of project management and construction administration experience with areas of specialization in historic architecture, and architectural detailing, and construction documentation. He has been involved with Habitat for Humanity, helping to build homes in Harrisburg.

 

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Celebrating M&D Day

This summer, the team from Murphy & Dittenhafer visited several sites together as part of their annual M&D Day, a trip designed to inspire and refresh the architects and their support staff. This particular trip will give them an opportunity to visit some of their own completed projects and see them in use, which they don’t always get to do.

This year’s group outing included six stops around Baltimore--all Murphy & Dittenhafer projects except for the new John and Frances Angelos Law Center on the University of Baltimore campus. The award-winning, $114.3 million, 192,00 square-foot project is certified LEED Platinum and has already become an architectural landmark in central Baltimore.

Last September, the team traveled to Philadelphia for M&D Day. Frank Dittenhafer had visited the University of Pennsylvania for a Grad School Architecture class reunion, during which he had the opportunity to tour the campus to see new buildings and infill additions - and the enhanced site planning between the buildings themselves. Inspired to bring Murphy & Dittenhafer employees for a visit, he contacted Penn’s department of campus facilities and they offered to have Principal Planner Mark Kocent give a tour.

The team got access to a variety of spaces on the campus, including historic buildings, new construction, additions, and open spaces. Highlights of the tour included the Fisher Fine Arts Library, designed by renowned Philadelphia architect Frank Furness and dedicated in 1891, and other landmark buildings such as the Richards Medical Research Laboratories, designed by Louis Kahn, which had recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. They talked about urban redevelopment on the edges of the campus and discussed the architectural detailing and unique materials utilized in the construction “between buildings.”

The acclaimed Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology was nearly complete, and set to open about a week after the group’s visit. The chief planner apologized for the timing, saying he was unable to take them inside the building. Moments later, someone waved to the planner to invite them in, and they got a special sneak peek at the green, high-tech building.

A week later, the Singh Center graced the cover of almost every architectural trade publication - it was THE building everyone was talking about, and one of the impressive examples of architectural excellence that the M&D team got to experience for themselves.

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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

Competition                

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          
Other               

 

 

Awards

            41
        5
        12
        25
    4
                16
        3
        4
            10
    14
            16
            17

 

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