50 Years of WRT: The 1980s

A time of significant growth for the firm's architectural practice.

haverford, pennsylvania, atlantic city, new jersey, architectural design, growth management, orlando, florida, norfolk, virginia, waterfronts


Richard Bartholomew, Greg Meckstroth


Andrew Dobshinsky


Brittany Coyle

WRT in the 1980s was characterized by growth and diversification. In 1980, the name of the firm changed from WMRT to WRT. During the 1980s, new partners joined the firm, branch offices were added in San Francisco and San Diego, and in 1986 the growing Philadelphia office moved to South Broad Street.

The firm continued to win awards in planning, urban design, and landscape architecture. Two major assignments—the design of Haverford Quadrangle and the Atlantic City Convention Center—fueled significant growth of the firm’s architectural practice. Innovative methods developed in the previous decade, primarily the environmental overlay analysis method and the susceptibility to change analysis for urban areas, were refined and applied to large planning and urban design projects. These methods became increasingly sophisticated through the use of computers; the firm added digital word processing in 1983 and in two dimensional drawing, three dimensional modeling, and geographic information systems in 1987.

For the first time, the firm successfully applied its methods to various scales of planning and design work on the same assignments, notably in the Orlando, FL Growth Management Plan (with plans for the urban area, downtown, project areas and streetscape) and on the Norfolk, VA downtown waterfront (downtown and waterfront plans, a waterfront park and Waterside Festival Market).