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Three Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects projects were recently recognized for their contributions to Architectural design and community engagement. 

The projects were: 

  • Central Plant Bio-Fuel Conversion at Bloomsburg University, which received an Award from AIA Central PA for Excellence in Design. 

  • The Innovation and Leadership Pavilion, which received a Design Award from AIA Central PA. 

  • Renovations to the South Cumberland Branch Library, which received a Good Design = Good Business Award from AIA Baltimore. 

“When we contribute our design expertise to these projects, we’re improving our own communities — and what’s happening in this area is inspiring,” said Frank E. Dittenhafer II, FAIA, LEED AP of Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects. “Awards are just one measure of success. I believe the real success is when people want to spend time in what you’ve designed.” 

Over the past 30 years, Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects has been recognized for design excellence more than any other Architectural Firm in Central Pennsylvania.

This recognition encompasses 25 consecutive years where at least one M&D project (and many years where two or three projects) has been identified by an award jury to receive a design award. Including the recent 2017 Design Awards, the firm has now received a total of 103 Design Excellence Awards from The American Institute of Architects – and 201 total awards inclusive of Historic Preservation and Construction Craftsmanship. 

Learn more about the three projects below. 

Citation Award from AIA Central PA for Excellence in Design 

Central Plant Bio-Fuel Conversion
Bloomsburg University

About the project: Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects design focused on converting Bloomsburg University's coal-burning steam plant to a wood chip-burning biofuel plant, while expanding the educational experience to showcase the campus commitment to environmental stewardship. 

The architectural design weaves a new “visitor’s catwalk” above the boiler room floor with information panels describing the process the wood chips go through as the boilers and maze of piping are viewed up close and personal.  

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Daylight harvesting, green roofs and the use of local and reused materials throughout the new and renovated areas contribute to a pervasive sense of environmental responsibility – for the project – and for the University. 

The project includes new wood and glass additions to the existing stone building, including an exterior wood canopy at the main entrance that reflects the transformation from a coal/electric heat-generating process to a sustainable wood byproduct system. That theme runs throughout the building, including new stairs, elevator, offices, meeting room, employee breakroom, and accessible restrooms. 

The project transforms an aging coal plant into a modern biofuel facility with visible interaction for guests and uplifts Bloomburg University’s desire for sustainable energy efficiency.   

Jury comments: “This project has a timeless design approach, simple and direct to its utilitarian function. We need more projects like this. Thank you!” 

Merit Award from AIA Central PA for Excellence in Design 

The Innovation and Leadership Pavilion
York, Pennsylvania

About the project: Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects worked with a client at the branch campus of a major university when it was approached by a local donor. The donor actively supports the school’s current leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship programs but wishes there was a larger and more inspiring “bricks and mortar” location for the programs on campus.

The goal was to provide a series of informal “gathering spaces” for open collaboration and co-working among students from various majors involved in the innovation/leadership program AND a series of flexible classroom/seminar spaces via retractable partitions for student meetings with local business leaders, mentors and faculty. Additionally, a “Forum” or “Idea Pitch” area accommodating up to 120 persons is needed for the annual “Start Up Challenge” (a Shark Tank like program finale) and for guest speakers.  

Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects design concept is to construct a two-level 13,673-square-foot “pavilion” with an outdoor entrance plaza as a campus gateway structure adjacent to the central walkway. The building is nestled into the sloping terrain with support spaces partially below grade and bleacher-style seating in the forum/pitch area that follows the grade slope. The design incorporates high performance, sustainable strategies for all building construction components, including geothermal heating and cooling, green roof stormwater collection, “smart glazing” and temperature/ventilation/daylighting energy efficiency sensors.     

Jury comments: “Clearly cutting-edge design. The plan is open, both vertically and horizontally, with the stepped presentation theater affording access to and communication between the ground floor and upper floor. The glazing expresses the spirit of openness embodied in innovation; students at work inside can enjoy a vista of the campus while the view to the interior from the campus advertises what’s going on inside. Clearly visible structure conveys engineering, often a product of innovative research.” 


Good Design = Good Business Award from AIA Baltimore 

Renovations to the South Cumberland Branch Library
Cumberland, Md. 

About the project: Located in a small working class Western Maryland town, a community library building has been renovated and transformed into a place full of energy, natural daylighting, openness, and warmth. The 9,000-square foot steel framed building was renovated to meet projected program and collection needs in a cost-effective manner. 

The work included everything from a new entrance and a totally new layout to comprehensive interior design - and it left M&D architects feeling like they’d helped make one rural community a little bit of a better place. 

South Cumberland is the county library system’s busiest walk-in branch. The work began outside with a larger, more convenient entrance, and additional windows were installed to help connect the surrounding community with the hum of activity inside. 

An interior redesign brought state-of-the-art acoustic ceiling systems and LED lighting, shorter shelves for a more open feel and an expanded community room for seminars and gatherings. The stacks in the children’s section are moveable to allow for events, with the furniture throughout more modern and inviting.