Our Story

Turning Possibility Into Reality, For Generations

Our mission as commercial architects is to design inspiring, functional and flexible spaces that meet the needs of our clients and enrich the lives of the people they serve and their communities.

For over 70 years RLPS has been on a mission to inspire people and transform lives through spaces that enhance wellness, elevate learning, and create community at every life stage. We start by building relationships founded on trust, infused with fun, and grounded in a shared vision of what can be, designing innovative approaches to achieve your goals. Leveraging our multi-generational expertise and passion for continuous learning, we design timeless environments that honor the past, empower the present, and shape the future.

Guiding Principles

Our Values Guide Everything We Do

We create authentically responsive design solutions that go beyond square-foot style programming to reach the heart and soul of the people you serve.

Mission
listen, create, serve
Values
integrity, empathy and creativity
Promise
a passion for architecture and interior design
Our Services

Solutions that Begin with You

RLPS services are backed by decades of experience and a deep respect for each client’s unique needs and design priorities. We do not impose prescriptive architectural planning or design solutions. Our clients have told us they appreciate their team’s sense of ownership in a unique design solution that is the result of a collaborative effort.

Architecture
Architecture
Interior Design
Interior Design
Master Planning
Master Planning
Feasibility Studies
Feasibility Studies
Sustainable Design
Sustainable Design
Technology
Technology

History at a Glance

The Founding
1954

1954

The Founding

Monroe S. Haak and S. Dale Kaufman founded RLPS as Haak and Kaufman in Myerstown, Pennsylvania. The two met in the early 1950’s as collaborating architects for an elementary school in Lampeter, Pennsylvania.

The First Reformed Church
1955

1955

The First Reformed Church

The First Reformed Church, constructed in 1955, was one of the first commissions, with many more places of worship for varying denominations in the following decades. These early experiences led to our firm’s sustained focus on mission-driven senior living, community organizations and public and private educational institutions.

The Mt. Joy Presbyterian Home
1957

1957

The Mt. Joy Presbyterian Home

The Mt. Joy Presbyterian Home is the first known senior care commission, with several others in the late 1950’s that were some of the earliest Presbyterian Senior Living communities.

A New Office
1965

1965

A New Office

Haak & Kaufman opened a second office in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

James D. Reese Joins RLPS
1970

1970

James D. Reese Joins RLPS

James (Jim) D. Reese and George R. Lower joined the firm in 1970. Jim became a partner in 1971 and George in 1982.

The firm’s first project for Penn Manor School District was a feasibility study for Hambright Elementary School in 1970.

Higher Education Master Plan
1971

1971

Higher Education Master Plan

The firm completed review and revision of the master plan for the institution that is now known as Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.

A New Name
1972

1972

A New Name

The firm name became Haak, Kaufman, Reese & Beers in 1972 and shortly thereafter both of its founders, Monroe Haak and Dale Kaufman, passed away.

Move to Lancaster, PA
1975

1975

Move to Lancaster, PA

All operations moved to Lancaster and the firm expanded to a new location on North Lime Street in the downtown.

A New Name
1982

1982

A New Name

Robert (Bob) Beers resigned to start his own architectural firm. That same year, George Lower, Robert (Bob) Patrick, Gregory (Gregg) Scott became partners and the firm name changed to Reese, Lower, Patrick & Scott, Ltd.

A New Space
1987

1987

A New Space

The firm designed a larger office building which opened in 1987. The new building included an open studio with oversized windows for lots of natural light.

A Sweet New Tradition
1988

1988

A Sweet New Tradition

RLPS rolled out the very first gingerbread display at its annual client holiday event. What started as a simple idea to build a few gingerbread houses evolved into a 30-year tradition of intricate, edible architecture that continued through 2019.

Top Honors in Senior Living
1993

1993

Top Honors in Senior Living

RLPS designed the Essa Flory Inpatient Hospice Care Center, the first of its kind in Pennsylvania.  The project earned top honors from the Center for Health Design, Contemporary Long Term Care magazine and the AIA Design for Aging Review.

An Eggsellent New Tradition
1994

1994

An Eggsellent New Tradition

The firm began its ongoing tradition of kicking off summer with an Egg Drop competition. Since that time RLPSers have catapulted, launched and dropped eggs in various creative contraptions toward a target.

The First Of Its Kind
1996

1996

The First Of Its Kind

RLPS master planned and designed one of the first University-Based Retirement Communities, The Village at Penn State, as well as two other brand new CCRC’s (now called Life Plan Communities) – Montereau in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Cypress Cove in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Groundbreaking Designs
2001

2001

Groundbreaking Designs

The firm’s design for the Village at Waveny Care Center, a groundbreaking memory care facility in New Canaan, Connecticut, received numerous accolades and was featured in the New York Times, on CNN and CBS. Modeled after downtown New Canaan, Waveny’s interior Main Street was flanked by one and two-story brick facades that house a beauty/barber shop, bakery, ice cream parlor, general store and dining piazza.

Gold Standard of LEED Certification
2004

2004

Gold Standard of LEED Certification

A personal care residence at Pennswood Village in Newtown, Pennsylvania was the first RLPS project to earn LEED Gold Certification.  The new Lingle Avenue Elementary School and district-wide Kindergarten center for Palmyra Area School District followed, earning LEED Silver

Hybrid Homes
2007

2007

Hybrid Homes

During an economic downturn, RLPS developed the Hybrid Homes concept for Landis Communities. This new senior housing model quickly became a creative solution for Life Plan Communities around the country to incrementally expand with a higher density footprint (than stand-alone cottages) that appeals to consumers and allows for more flexible financing options.

Waldner Performing Arts Center
2008

2008

Waldner Performing Arts Center

The new Waldner Performing Arts Center at York College of Pennsylvania, featuring a 750-seat theater with stage and full fly loft, was completed. It was constructed as an addition to a former gymnasium and natatorium that RLPS converted into a new Humanities Center.

RLPS participated in the Green House Design Charrette sponsored by the IDEAS Institute.  The firm earned a first place award for its design concept separating the functions of the house into public, private and support zones and a courtyard shared between four houses so residents are not isolated to a single home.

New Biophilic Design
2013

2013

New Biophilic Design

RLPS moved to its current office location at 250 Valleybrook Drive.  Designed to LEED silver standards, the firm’s commitment to biophilic design principles is evident with walls of windows, a center courtyard space and three-quarters of the 40-acre property remaining open habitat

Senior Living Top Honors
2016

2016

Senior Living Top Honors

Phase 1 redevelopment of Rose Villa in Portland, Oregon earned top honors from both the Environments for Aging Design Showcase and AIA Design for Aging Review.  The neotraditional community concept introduced “over-under” pocket neighborhoods stepping up the hillside to a new main street with intergenerational amenities and loft apartments

Transformative Mixed-Use Designs
2021

2021

Transformative Mixed-Use Designs

RLPS helped Logos Academy convert a 1930’s-era former Cadillac dealership in downtown York, Pennsylvania into an expansion to accommodate high school students. This project earned AIA Central PA Design Excellence Award of Merit and Good Design is Good Business Awards.

CollegeTowne, a transformative project for Alvernia University opened in the city of Reading, Pennsylvania. The project converted an office building into a 260,000 SF mixed-used resource with a business trading lab, classrooms, esports center, student housing, a new engineering program, and a business incubator.

 

New Urban Office Space
2023

2023

New Urban Office Space

The firm’s Pittsburgh location ramped up as a full-service office to serve clients in the region and throughout the country.  This urban complement to our firm culture reflects the region’s balance between world-class innovation and small-town roots.

RLPS is celebrating 70 years!
2024

2024

RLPS is celebrating 70 years!

Those of us at RLPS today are grateful for vision, integrity, and dedication of those who started the firm in 1954 and the many leaders and team members who kept our firm growing and thriving through seven decades!

1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s
Upcoming Events

Learning. Connecting. Visioning.

Event
Date
Location
06/04/2024
Caesars Hotel & Casino
2100 Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
06/05/2024
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Allen Y. Lew Place NW, Washington DC, 20001
06/05/2024
The Hotel Roanoke
110 Shenandoah Avenue NE, Roanoke, VA 24016
06/09/2024
Westin Kansas City Crown Center
1 E Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108
07/15/2024
Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, Orlando FL, 32821
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