Mystery on the Main Line

“What goes on in there?”

It’s a question that’s been posed frequently to those that work for Wilkie Lexus, located at 568 West Lancaster Avenue in Haverford, PA. Customers, neighborhood residents, at least one borough official and even those simply walking by have asked about the year-old grey building facing Lancaster Avenue.  It may take a few passes, but one can begin to understand why people ask; for what appears to be a typical street-front commercial building is missing something.


Entrance doors.

You won’t find any, at least not on the front, because the building is actually a state-of-the-art vehicle storage facility for the dealership.  The front elevation was intentionally designed by Charles Matsinger Associates to blend into the typical Lancaster Ave. streetscape by using traditional storefront elements in a slightly abstract manner. There are retail windows with awnings with second floor office or apartment style windows above.

We endeavored to design a storage facility that both met the needs of our client and respected the characteristics and architectural rhythm of the Lower Merion community in which Wilkie Lexus resides.  CMA, along with the Engineering and Construction Team carefully coordinated with owners Dan Polett and Scott Lustgarten and the Township of Lower Merion to ensure the success of this project.


A whopping 300 vehicles can be housed in the facility,  with 268 stacked four high and two deep on 67 independent racks. It is reminiscent of a giant-scale Matchbox® car case, which is exactly how Hezekiah Jones refers to  “his baby”.  Hezekiah is the person responsible for the daily operation of this facility.  The racking system is the only one of its kind on the East Coast, so it was up to Hezekiah and his coworkers to create and refine the most efficient method with which to identify, track and maneuver their stock in and out of the facility.

20151117_102209He won’t brag, but they’ve cut it to a slim four minutes to retrieve the top back car from a rack.  You don’t want to get in the way of this procedure, which resembles a carefully scripted and practiced ballet.  Three people are involved as cars are efficiently removed from floor level, the hydraulic lift engaged to drop the next, and so on until the desired vehicle is at floor level.  They should sell tickets to watch.

Here are some specifics:

Building/Site Rack System
20,000 s.f. footprint Lifts built specifically to fit Lexus vehicles
Attached state-of-art car wash Racks vary by vehicle type/size
No natural light/views to outside 67 racks, 4 high and 2 deep
Storm water retainage system Separate sprinkler system
New landscaping to enhance streetscape

To learn more, please contact Patty Whalen at



CMA Pitches In

Jeremy_cropCMA staff member Jeremy McClure spends many a Saturday morning coaching a team for the Camden County Miracle League, a venture of Build Jake’s Place in Cherry Hill, NJ. Both organizations are dedicated to the mission of providing barrier-free, handicapped accessible recreational areas and activities to children and adults with physical or mental challenges.

On October 17th, a few of his colleagues joined for the 2nd annual Run4Play event, which was held to raise funds for these fantastic organizations. While impressed with the Boundless Design of the park, which includes a baseball field, walking trail and extensive playground, we found ourselves completely inspired by the limitless energy and enthusiasm shown by the runners, players, families and Buddies who participated that day.


CMA assisted in checking in runners and setting up refreshments for the 5K run/walk, and then manned the field as Buddies for the baseball game, in which every player gets a hit, every player scores a run, and both teams always win! As you’d expect, the players, some of whom have been in the Miracle League together for years, supported and cheered for both teams with gusto. More importantly though, players provided constant inspiration and motivation for teammates to push their individual limits. A great time was definitely had by all.

      group_crop  men_crop  Elizabeth_cropJeremy says “The thing I love the most about Miracle League is that no one on the field is there out of obligation, it is where and what everyone there wants to be doing Saturday morning. It’s an uplifting experience every time, and there is always at least one player showcasing a skill they have been practicing. I feel fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time to become the “Phillies” team coach, it has allowed me to have so many great moments with the players and their supporters. I absolutely love everything about the organization, what they do and all those involved.”

Learn more about these fantastic organizations and their missions by clicking below:

          Build Jake’s Place                  Camden County Miracle League

Supporting Students

AIAS Northeast Quad Conference 2015                

Nourish Quad LogoThe American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) Regional Spring student conference is held annually in the Midwest, Northeast, South, and West Quads. These Conferences are hosted by local chapters whose themes vary based on the city, local culture, and architectural topic of choice.

On April 10th, Charles Matsinger Associates was pleased to provide an overview of our firm for a group of students attending the Northeast Quad, which was hosted by Drexel University and Chapter President Marissa Gray.  “Nourish” was the selected theme for the Quad, the purpose of which was to explore the intersection between architecture and food. Twenty attendees were given a tour of our offices and shown a sampling of our projects,  including various food venues, four of which exist on Drexel’s campus:

Picture Bar 2

In addition, our soon-to-be Drexel Graduate Caitlin Kline provided insight and examples of how our office utilizes Revit design software in different ways to best meet client needs.  Questions were answered by both Shareholder Marty Whalen and Caitlin, who also provided practical advice regarding different ways students can make themselves valuable to a company as they start careers in the field.

Course Requirement Fulfilled!

Recently the daughter of one of our terrific clients requested the opportunity to “job shadow” with us for the day.   Victoria Fratarelli, an outgoing student at Garnet Valley High School, needed to complete this task for her Career Development course, meant to assist students in career and college choices.  Victoria has a strong creative side, and we strove to help her tap into the design field with the help of the studio staff.


Victoria told us “Job shadowing at Charles Matsinger Associates greatly fulfilled what I needed for the course by letting me job shadow a few people. I got to see many people at the firm work on different projects and experience a friendly environment. All of my questions I needed for my course were answered. Overall I learned a lot and had a really amazing experience.”

"Starbucks Corporation Logo 2011" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -


Avenue of Rehabilitation and Restorative Healing

Charles Matsinger Associates is excited to be partnering with Magee Rehabilitation Hospital on the design of the Creative Therapy Center and Healing Gardens.  This transformational project augments and updates existing patient therapeutic areas (Segal Street, McSherry Greenhouse and the Segal sponsored Resource Center) on the unique 6th floor rooftop of the hospital.

Research shows that healing/therapeutic gardens can help shorten the length of hospital stays, reduce pain medications needed and improve the mental well-being of patients and their families.  Rehabilitative patients benefit specifically from well-designed gardens that provide accessibility, socialization, stress relief, independence, movement, sensory stimulation and distraction from routine.

NOTE: CLICK on images to enlarge, use Back arrow to return

Healing Gardens Color Diagram with Labels 3.2.15
Master Plan

The theme for the Healing gardens is a stroll “Along the Avenue”, providing a visually stimulating, looping path that connects interior rooms and activity areas along its route.  Along the Avenue, patients, families and friends can explore and participate in group activities and therapy programs or find solace in private garden “rooms” or the indoor Spirituality center. The design draws on the Elements to awaken multisensory experiences along the way: a fountain and trickling water sculpture, an outdoor fireplace, planters and raised flower beds which will be incorporated into the Horticultural Therapy program.  The successful Art Therapy program will now benefit from its own studio/gallery space.


In addition to being visually enticing, this advanced rooftop experience both maintains and updates features that present actual challenges confronted by patients in everyday life.  This design is particularly notable as it was driven by a uniquely collaborative effort between Magee, Charles Matsinger Associates, Carter Van Dyke Landscape Architects, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, patients, former patients and the dedicated staff who deliver patient care.

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Garden View


Click logo for more information, or to donate to the Magee Campaign.3047



Distinction in Sustainable Design

Charles Matsinger Associates is pleased to announce that the K-Wing Addition at Drexel University’s Queen Lane Medical Campus recently achieved a rating of Two (2) Green Globes.

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This high-profile academic building includes administrative offices for the Institute for Women’s Health and the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine programs. A Medical Simulation center operates on the top floor and 4,500 square feet of the lowest floor houses the Medical College’s archives. Careful design ensures the reduction in the amount of storm water runoff from this new building addition.  Furthermore,  the green roof and porous paving which surrounds most of the building act together to limit the disturbance of the site’s hydrology.

27044_i1 Drexel QL 1

In 2009 Drexel University became the first university in the country to commit to using “Green Globes,” the Green Building Initiative’s independent environmental impact monitoring system, for all new construction and existing campus buildings. In keeping with our CMAgreen mission, we are proud to have collaborated with the University in order to facilitate their vision to provide more sustainable work and learning environments.

combined logosFor more information on CMAgreen, please contact our Sustainable Design Leader, Matthew Perna, AIA, LEED + AP at 215.925.6565


New Development at Charles Matsinger Associates

Charles Matsinger Associates is pleased to announce that Patty Whalen been promoted to Director of Business Development.


Patty graduated from Temple University with a B.B.A. in Marketing and from Neumann University with an M.S. in Education.  She has over fifteen years experience in Market Research for the Consumer Goods, Entertainment and Financial Services industries.  As a member of CMA’s marketing team over the past year, Patty assisted with Business Development in the preparation of proposals, qualification packages, newsletters and all marketing materials. She is also an active member of the Society for Marketing Professional Services.  As Director of Business Development she will be responsible for acquiring new business and maintaining client relationships.

Family Style Hospitality – The Connelly Resource Center

New resize brightCharles Matsinger Associates worked with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to renovate spaces within the Connelly Resource Center for Families.  The facility is located on the 8th floor of the Main Hospital, and provides important hospitality and educational support services to the hospital’s patients and their families.

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An existing high demand self-serve laundry and break room offered families only very limited access in a confined area. By separating these uses, CMA was able to enhance both functions.

The new open break room has now become the focal point of the Center’s lounge and will help to stage welcome events. Additionally, the new laundry room with more machines and counters for folding has alleviated long waits for use. Renderings of the proposed space enabled the staff to visualize and comment on the layout. The finished result has earned praise from many including most importantly the families who use the space on a daily basis.

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