We base our work on a fundamental belief, drawn from years of study and experience, that there is something special about almost everywhere. This leads us to the conviction that with the right approach to design, almost every place can become someplace special.
Whether considering an existing building, an un-built site, a collection of buildings and spaces, a street, town, city or region, our training and studies in architecture, human history, and urban development across the world have shown us that even in the most common places there is almost always something that might be inherently special and potentially enriching there; a quality or character, a sense of the uniqueness of the place or space; and that with some very careful listening and exploration, this can be discovered. Once identified, these qualities can then be drawn out and developed through thoughtful design and planning to create new significance and new value for the future of that place.
With the right appreciation and sensibility to a place, its patterns of prior activity, its position within its larger surroundings, and with the right approach to discovery, planning, and design, a qualitative shift in character and sense of place — which we sometimes call “Future Heritage” – can begin to happen.
Architecture and the effect we can have through its design on our cities, towns, and countryside, is one of the most direct bridges to the future we humans can create. When shaping our buildings we not only shape our own lives, but we add to or detract from the lives, the economic prospects, and the community experiences of future generations. As we are entrusted with that role, we believe we and our clients owe it to ourselves in our own time, and to those who will come after us, to make the best design decisions and choices we can about the built and natural environment.
Community Heritage Partners is a firm of architects, town planners, preservation and development advisers dedicated to building and rebuilding the vitality of places, and reconnecting people with the heritage and special sense of place of their built environment, their communities, and their landscapes.
Based in the thriving historic city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, we work in communities large and small, throughout the state, across the East Coast, and sometimes beyond, to develop architectural, planning, preservation and development solutions with value, significance, and substance.
Over our quarter-century of practice, we have fostered partnerships with a diverse array of clients, from municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, and neighborhood groups, to homeowners, retailers, museums, and developers. Our own development arm, Community Design Works, Inc., actively invests in the revitalization of neglected properties in downtowns like Lancaster, so we bring a street-tested pragmatism to all our projects. But we never sacrifice our projects to the whims of expediency, style or fashion — all our work is grounded in the craft and diligence of good design.
Our projects are sustenance-rich because we take the time to listen — to our clients, our communities, our sites and our buildings. These careful conversations can lead to buildings, landscapes, plans, and places that make sense to their users, and can make something more out of their particular part of the world, that can increase community quality of life, re-connect with community history, and add value to their surroundings.