LeadingAge 2018 Conference

We hope to see many of our clients and business associates at this year’s event in Philadelphia!  Please stop by our Booth #1817 or the RLPS Interiors Booth #1820.

RLPSers will also be part of the speaker’s panel for the following educational sessions at this year’s conference:

131-B. Design Strategies for Big Living in Small Spaces – Monday, October 29, 2018 / 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.

Ric Myers, Director of Sales, Willow Valley Communities and Gregg Scott

32-G. Extending Housing and Services to the Middle Market – Wednesday, October 31, 2018 / 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.

Beverly Asper, director, Baker Tilly; Lynn Daly, Senior Vice President, BB&T Capital Markets; and Craig Kimmel

165-H. Fostering an Employee-Centered Workplace – Wednesday, October 31, 2018 / 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Steve Jeffrey, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Garden Spot Village Retirement Community; Lisa McCracken, Director Senior Living Research and Development, Ziegler; and Jessie Santini

More information is available on the LeadingAge Conference website.

Architect Still Thinking Outside the Department Store Box

C. Emlen Urban Series:  Part 18

We may never know what drove C. Emlen Urban in his relentless quest for excellence, but his passion for architectural innovation and experimentation was unparalleled.  By 1921, the 58-year-old Urban was celebrating his 35th year of practice and had completed well over 130 commissions in Lancaster and Dauphin Counties alone.  Department stores and commercial structures were a large part of his portfolio.  In true Urban fashion, he chose a new and unusual architectural style for German immigrant Miles F. Goodman’s landmark furniture store:  Perpendicular Gothic Revival.

Perpendicular Gothic Revival, named for its emphasis on verticality, ornamentation, pointed arches and stained glass, was growing in popularity in the first quarter of the 20th century.  Urban presumably selected this style, typically reserved for churches and collegiate buildings, as a differentiator in the commercial district of downtown Lancaster.   The six-story structure, utilizing structural steel to create large expanses of glass, exudes success with its use of granite, limestone, glazed terra cotta tile, bronze and leaded glass

There are three notable details on the King Street façade: first, the large sweeping segmental arch with curved decorative leaded glass detailing; second, a rare transverse barrel vaulted storefront entry and lobby; and third, the highly crenelated skyline parapet complete with shields, ribbons, rosettes, quatrefoils and fleur-de-lis.   Close examination of the façade reveals four carved stone lion heads left and right of the arch. The store lauded its 2,000 square feet of floor space, a fireproof steel elevator and padded booths to test grafonolas (phonographs) in quiet privacy. The new furniture store was the talk of the town in 1922 with over 15,000 Lancastrians attending the grand opening on a cold winter day in January

Addition information and photo are available from the full LNP article  Thirty-Five Years Into His Career, Architect Still Designing Outside the Department Store Box.


Gregg Scott, FAIA, Senior Partner at RLPS Architects will be hosting a private walking tour of Historic Downtown Lancaster. This tour will highlight a diverse mix of commercial and residential buildings reflecting a myriad of architectural styles, all within a few blocks of the city square. Many of the featured buildings are the direct result of the impressive architectural career of Lancaster’s own C. Emlen Urban.  


The following is a pdf file for tour-goers to reference during the tour:  Lancaster Walking Tour – September 2018


Lancaster Boys’ High School, a ‘beacon’ for its students

C. Emlen Urban Series:  Part 17

On June 25, 1880, 17-year-old C. Emlen Urban stood before classmates, faculty, school directors and guests of honor as the senior class valedictorian for the Lancaster High School, and delivered a poignant speech of promise and praise.  In 1880, the three story, red brick building was a fine example of 1874 Queen Anne architecture that faithfully served the Lancaster community for more than 44 years.  In 1916, however, the school directors commissioned Lancaster High School alumnus and architect Urban to replace his alma mater with a new and more appropriate structure that would reflect the latest design principles for a modern education.  What an honor this must have been for him, while equally bittersweet.

It had only been 12 years since the school superintendents had retained Urban to design the new Girl’s High School at the corner of West Chestnut and North Charlotte Streets.  However, shortly after its dedication in 1906, the structure was forced to accept boys due to the rapid growth of the city’s population.  The new Boy’s High School would correct the issue and return things to normal, for at least 20 years. Urban seized the opportunity to again showcase his talent and skills by designing a new three-story structure in the popular Beaux Arts style.  The resulting building, that still stands today as Fulton Elementary School, is organized around an impressive and innovative 960-seat semi-circular auditorium with 20 large, leaded glass, ceiling diffusers.  The auditorium is suspended above the gymnasium and indoor running track on massive steel girders

The exterior reflects an equal level of detailing and careful consideration with gold-colored tapestry brick, cast stone balustrades, cut stone bases and capitals, sculptured stone panels, Greek urns, garlands and a most impressive eagle with torches above the main entrance. An enthusiastic School Board President, P. E. Slaymaker, proclaimed the new school to be a “beacon of light …guiding and leading the students in the higher paths of rectitude and right.”

The full LNP article, Building Boys’ High School, and additional photos are available through Lancaster Online.





Hager Store Ushers in a New Era of Modern Architecture

C. Emlen Urban Series – Part 15

In 1910, the Hager family knew they had to do something radical if they were going to survive in the competitive Lancaster City department store business.  Their claim to being the oldest continuously operating department store in the United States did not sufficiently impress consumers who were attracted to the new shopping experience offered by Watt & Shand.  Additionally, new stores were being planned for M. T. Garvin and Reilly Brothers and Raub.  Interestingly, the Hagers commissioned , C Emlen Urban, the very same architect that Peter T. Watt and James Shand had retained to reinvent their store a decade earlier!

This time, however, Urban was able to take advantage of the benefits of structural steel construction, allowing for larger window openings and virtually column-free floor space.  This revolutionary new construction method transformed the way buildings looked and performed. For a department store, this meant superior natural lighting to showcase merchandise and open floor plans for customer convenience.

Until the advent of structural steel framing, commercial buildings in Lancaster were masonry, load bearing structures with restrictions on height, window and door openings.  The Hager Department Store changed all that and ushered in a new era of taller, lighter and more impressive buildings in the downtown. On March 22, 1911, The Lancaster New Era heralded the transformed five-story commercial building as “the best example of modern department store building construction in our State outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.”

Urban was careful, clever and deliberate with his choice of materials to clad Lancaster’s newest building. He chose the traditional detailing associated with the French Renaissance Style to acknowledge the past, but melded it with modern details of the emerging Chicago Style.  White glazed terra cotta blocks, ornate medallions, embossed metal panels, large plate glass windows and cast iron columns that were topped off with a decorative pressed metal cornice created an imposing presence on West King Street.

The full-story and photos are available at LNP online:  Lancaster City’s Hager Store Ushers in a New Era of Modern Architecture

LeadingAge PA June 20-22, 2018

We hope to see many of our clients and business associates at this always busy, informative, and enjoyable conference. Please stop by RLPS Architects’ booth #50/51 or RLPS Interiors’ booth #30. We’ll also be participating in the following education sessions:

Pixel Perfect – Design Technology for Today and Tomorrow

Thursday, June 21st, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Solutions for the Middle Market Senior Housing

Thursday, June 21st, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The Wave of the Future: Urban Senior Housing

Friday, June 22nd, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Attracting & Retaining Highly Engaged Workers Through Strategic Person-Centered & Environmental Initiatives

Friday, June 22nd, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Achieving Long Term Goals: Implementing Your Master Plan While Adapting to Emerging Trends and Government Policy

Friday, June 22nd, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

The Fulton Theatre: A Standing Ovation

C. Emlen Urban Series – Part 14

Like the proverbial cat with nine lives, the current day Fulton Theatre has enjoyed nine or more incarnations over its 166-year history. By this point in our series, it should come as no surprise that C. Emlen Urban was among the notable architects who left their mark on one of our city’s most recognizable landmarks.  Designed in 1852 by Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan as the Fulton Hall, the popular Italianate style venue offered the traditional fare of the time including musical entertainment, lectures, church fairs, celebrations, balls, exhibitions, graduation exercises, political meetings and county conventions.

Within only 21 years of its debut, Fulton Hall was ready for a make-over, this time at the hands of one of our country’s most accomplished theatre designers, Philadelphia architect Edwin Forrest Durang.  His interiors represented the best of Victorian high design complete with carpet, upholstered seats, gas sconces and chandeliers.  

On April 25, 1904 the Lancaster New Era announced that the Fulton Opera House had retained 41-year-old Lancaster architect Urban to help propel the Opera House into the 20th century.  In true Urban fashion, he graciously accepted the commission and delivered on the promise.  The news release assured readers that the Fulton will be “one of the best arranged and most beautifully decorated amusement places in the State”

Urban’s plans called for the removal of the entire 1873 interior with the exception of the four walls and the main balcony.  The stage was enlarged, the auditorium expanded, box seats added, an upper gallery was introduced, the ceiling raised, fireproofing added, exit stairs improved and the restrooms were expanded.  Other design interventions by Urban included the introduction of smoking rooms and the grand staircase, a larger lobby space, marble walls, ornate plaster molding and new lighting throughout.

Although there have been other updates since that time, the stunning neo-classical interior that we all enjoy today is essentially the gift and talent of Urban.  As anyone who has ever enjoyed a performance at the Fulton Theatre can attest, he deserves a standing ovation! The full LNP article is on  Architect’s Work Earns a Standing Ovation at Fulton Theatre.

All photos by Larry Lefever Photography

RLPS Promotes Four Employees

We are excited to announce the promotions of Dan Godfrey, Jodi Kreider, Carson Parr, and Brent Stebbins to Partner. All of these individuals have worked with RLPS for a number of years and are familiar to many of our clients and business associates so we’ve asked each of them a few questions about their career path and personal inspiration.

Dan Godfrey, Jr., AIA, LEED AP

22 years of Experience / 19 Years at RLPS

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Golf and coaching my daughter’s basketball team.

How did you decide you wanted to be an architect?

I became interested in construction while working with my uncle who is a residential contractor. I began my post high school education at Harrisburg Area Community College with the intent of keeping all doors open. Shortly after being employed by an architectural firm I discovered the evening architectural program at Drexel University. My goals and ambition grew as new opportunities became available in the profession.

What was your first part-time job?

I worked in residential construction at an early age with my uncle. My first official part-time job was at Staples Office supply store.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value” – Albert Einstein

Professional Qualifications:

  • Bachelor in Architecture / Drexel University
  • Associates Degree in Applied Science / Harrisburg Area Community College
  • NCARB Registered architect
  • Member, American Institute of Architects
  • AIA Central Pennsylvania
    • Board Member 2010-2017
    • Past President 2017
  • Architectural and Building Construction Management Advisory Committees, Harrisburg Area Community College
  • Member, United States Green Building Council


Jodi Kreider, LEED AP

27 Years of Experience / 15 Years at RLPS

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My favorite pastimes are either curling up with a good book or heading out for a long walk. I also recently joined the Lancaster Rotary Club and volunteer at the Hospice & Community Care annual Labor Day auction and at LCBC Church in Manheim. Prior to becoming a parent, I was also a volunteer reading tutor with the Lancaster-Lebanon Literacy Council. As an avid reader, I felt like it was a logical choice for me. Now a good bit of my spare time is spent shuttling and cheering on my daughters for their various activities.

How did you end up being the lone English major working at an architectural firm?

I started out as a dietetics major in college, but after a couple of semesters of pre-med sciences switched over to English and communications. My second choice career has been a great fit for me since I love to write and thoroughly enjoy coordinating communications for the firm as well as continually researching and learning new things.

What was your first part-time job?

My first part-time job was working in the food service department at Willow Valley Manor in Willow Street, Pennsylvania.  An interesting coincidence is that now RLPS is working with Willow Valley Living at the Manor and other campuses.  It’s great to see how much it has grown and changed since I worked there.

What was your most unique job experience?

My most unique job was working in various capacities on my parents’ dairy farm. For the most part I loved working with the animals and being outdoors, but I was not a fan of the long hours and especially disliked waking up before 4 am!  I think that experience resulted in a strong work ethic, but also an understanding that I was better suited to a desk job.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou

 Professional Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Arts with Honors in English/Communications from Albright College
  • LEED Accredited Professional, United States Green Building Council


Carson Parr, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

8 Years of Experience / 8 Years at RLPS

How do you spend your spare time?

Playing soccer, golfing, snowboarding, and hiking with my dogs. I love to travel and experience places and cultures.

When did you decide you wanted to be an architect?

From Lincoln Logs and Legos to my first toolbox and working in my grandfather’s glass shop, I’ve always liked building things.  At some point, I realized people’s lives were impacted by the spaces they inhabit and that’s why I became an architect—to help improve the quality of people’s lives by creating and defining the spatial experience. Following my internship at RLPS, the sincerity of the people, the quality of the work, and the culture of the firm made me feel at home. I look forward to coming to work every day.

What was your first part-time job?

My first job was a tractor trailer washer. Need I say more?

What was your most unique client quote or job experience?

Every client and project is unique. I cherish them all in their own way – It’s about people and our clients are among the best!

Do you have a favorite quote or is there an architect whose work you admire?

My favorite quote is “Everything happens for a reason.” I have two role models:  my father and grandfather.  Both have inspired me to work hard, be humble and take nothing for granted.

Professional Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture: Community and Urban Design / Pennsylvania State University
  • NCARB Registered Architect
  • Member, American Institute of Architects
  • 2018 President and Board Member, AIA Central Pennsylvania
  • Member, United States Green Building Council Building Design and Construction


Brent Stebbins, AIA

25 Years of Experience / 18 Years at RLPS

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy touring new places, visiting noteworthy architectural sites and also enjoy hiking/walking (mostly), history, time spent with my family, church and exercise.

When did you decide you wanted to be an architect?

I probably began considering architecture as a profession in high school drafting class, but my interest in building started much earlier with LEGOS, wooden blocks, Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys. As a child I was always imagining and creating. Bouncing between the contrast of life on a farm and progressive suburbia as I grew up also had a very strong influence, leading to my love of nature and outdoor connections.

What was your first part-time job?

I started helping out on a farm from a very early age, but my first “real” job on my own was as a bag boy at Acme Markets.

Are there any unique quotes or job experiences you can share?

A loose quote from Architect Peter Bohlin:  “Architecture is much like people’s faces.  It’s the unique differences, the quirks, that make them interesting, maybe even beautiful.”

Do you have a favorite architect or role model?

I have many favorite architects for varied reasons.  A good architect builds on the shoulders of giants.  You study all the greats and then morph them into your thoughts to develop something uniquely your own.  Frank Lloyd Wright for example, was strongly influenced by H.H. Richardson, Louis Sullivan, Japanese Architecture and many others (but he famously only credited Louis Sullivan.)

Professional Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Architecture with Honors and Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture with Honors / North Carolina State University
  • Associate Degree in Architectural Technology with Honors / Pennsylvania College of Technology
  • NCARB Registered Architect
  • Member, American Institute of Architects



Gunzenhauser Residence & Bakery: From Rags to Riches!

C. Emlen Urban Series – Part 12

Building strong and lasting relationships is first and foremost to the career of any successful architect.   By 1908, C. Emlen Urban had designed and built a dozen different building types including private residences, churches, manufacturing facilities, a market house, a hospital, a department store, two hotels, a YMCA and even a funeral home, but never a bakery. 

Orphaned and penniless, Christian Gunzenhauser arrived in America at the age of 14 seeking a new life and employment. Following 12 years of learning the trade working for bakeries in Lock Haven, Philadelphia and Lancaster, Gunzenhuser seized the opportunity to purchase the Goebel Bakery at 231 West King Street sometime around 1895.  His attention to detail, focus on cleanliness and utilization of the latest production technologies soon had his brand of breads, pastries and cakes overtaking his competitors.

Gunzenhauser’s rising success afforded him the opportunity to retain Urban to design a new residence at 250 West Orange Street for his expanding family. In addition to sharing an entrepreneurial spirit, Urban and Gunzenhauzer shared membership in the Lancaster Elks Club. It may have been this connection that led to a business relationship that spanned well over a decade.

The three-story Gunzenhauser residence is a unique blend of Georgian, French and Italian Renaissance Revival styles. The Georgian details include the distinctive Flemish bond brickwork, shutters and keystones, however the keystones feature unusual corner blocks. The French influence is found in the steeply pitched and flared hipped roof, while the Italian Renaissance references are the exposed rafter tails and hipped dormer details. The floor plan included servant’s quarters, a wine cellar, a provisional cellar and dedicated laundry spaces reflective of a family with wealth and means.  Urban drew upon his four years of experience with Philadelphia’s controversial architect Willis G. Hale to create this eclectic and rather unorthodox blending of architectural styles.  With the exception of the once open front porch, the building’s exterior is completely intact, 110 years later!

Urban also designed many of Guzenhauser’s bakery plants, horse stables and wagon sheds to house and support his growing operations throughout Lancaster City and perhaps as far away as Harrisburg. The Gunzenhauser story is another example of Urban’s ability to not only secure commissions but also to sustain lasting relationships.

The full LNP News Article, Architect’s Designs Help Trace Christian Gunzenhauser’s Rags-to-Riches Lifetime, includes additional photos and architectural plans.


DESIGN INTERVENTION: St. James Parish House is an ‘exquisite’ example of its Georgian Revival inspiration

C. Emlen Urban Series – Part 11

Architects typically hit full stride in their early 40s, and C. Emlen Urban was no exception. With his practice in full swing and his reputation for producing high-quality work growing exponentially, Urban was able to be more selective with the commissions he accepted and the architectural styles he designed.

Approximately two years prior to the Stevens Girls High School dedication, the bishop of St. James Episcopal Church offered a blessing for its newly constructed Parish House at 119 N. Duke St. Its architect was none other than Lancaster’s favorite design professional, 41-year-old Urban.

Respecting the adjacent Federal-style church and rectory, Urban selected Georgian Revival style for the 1903 three-story, five-bay brick Parish House. This monumental yet understated structure is one that is easily overlooked by the passer-by. Today, and even in the earliest known photographs of the Parish House, massive shade trees along the narrow sidewalk make it difficult to appreciate and fully enjoy the architecture and detailing. Behind the canopy of branches, however, lies Urban’s largest and most exquisite example of nonresidential Georgian Revival architecture.

The Parish House exhibits textbook Georgian Revival details, including Flemish bond brick, quoins, a water table, two belt courses, keystone window lintels, six-over-six window panes and classic Ionic columns. However, the real magic occurs at two locations on the facade. Directly over the main entrance door is a cast-stone balcony supported by two large decorative consoles and, above that, a stone pediment with the date inscribed in Roman numerals. The second location is Urban’s attention to detailing at the roof cornice; the deep soffit consists of square blocks with pegs, round rosettes, dentil molding and the traditional use of Greek “egg and dart” trim.

The full digital version of the LNP News article can be found on LancasterOnline.