KAREN W. RAMSEY, AIA
Following my graduation from The Ohio State University, I began my career in architecture in 1975 working for a small firm specializing in the design of banking facilities in Columbus, OH. Three years later I joined a firm in Ann Arbor, MI as a Project Architect/Manager. For eight years there, I designed and managed a wide array of projects including school renovations, medical clinics, retail stores, moderate-income housing, and corporate office facilities.
Following a relocation to Allentown, PA in 1986, I established my own architectural practice, KW RAMSEY, ARCHITECT. After being based in Allentown for 18 years, I now call suburban Philadelphia my home, and provide architectural services to clients there, and in the Lehigh Valley area. During my years in practice, I have primarily focused on residential commissions, small commercial projects, and adaptive re-use of historic buildings. During this time, I also worked in collaboration with R. Jane Schwam Interior Design in Elkins Park, PA, doing commercial interior design and space planning work for retail stores, executive offices, and multi-family adaptive re-use projects.
In 2001, while continuing to practice as KW RAMSEY, I entered into a separate partnership, R+D ARCHITECTURE LLC in Easton, PA, in order to provide services primarily for larger commercial clients in the Lehigh Valley area. After many fruitful years, that partnership closed its doors in 2019 following the untimely passing of the firm's co-founder William G. Dohe, who was a faithful friend and valued business partner.
I have been a member of the American Institute of Architects since 1983, and have always valued the benefits of civic engagement. In Allentown, I spent many productive years on the boards of the West Park Civic Association, the Old Allentown Preservation Association, the city's Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB), and the Allentown Preservation League. In suburban Philadelphia, my non-profit participation has included time on the boards of the Lower Merion Township Historic Architectural Review Board, the Wynnewood Civic Association, the Ardmore Free Library, the Lower Merion Affordable Housing Corporation, and the Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Delaware County.
My approach to the design process is rooted in my love of both problem-solving and the creation of timeless, modern-inspired, and contextual buildings and spaces. I have, additionally, a deep commitment to collaboration with my clients, and believe that my willingness to explore design alternatives, combined with solid technical knowledge and a sensitivity to each client's unique functional and aesthetic needs, is the fundamental basis for satisfying design solutions.
Over the years, two of my residential rehabilitation projects were honored with City of Allentown awards during National Historic Preservation Week celebrations, and my design of the Kolbe residence in Orefield, PA received the only Award of Excellence given that year by the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Karen W. Ramsey