Mahan Rykiel Associates (MRA) is an award-winning landscape architecture, urban design and planning firm headquartered in Baltimore. Catherine Mahan started the firm in 1983 as a sole proprietorship concentrating on local projects with an emphasis on regional transportation projects, such as the 22- mile Baltimore Central Light Rail, Canal Parkway and Annapolis Main Street, and she became a leader in the field working primarily in the public sector. Scott Rykiel co-founded Mahan Rykiel Associates in 1993, bringing on retail, commercial and international resort expertise. Since Mahan’s retirement in 2012, Rykiel and President Richard Jones have continued growing the firm into a team of 40 landscape architects, designers and planners dreaming up and designing places around the world – in 30 countries to be exact.
In Baltimore, MRA’s work wraps from Camden Yards all the way to Fell’s Point and across the city to East and West Baltimore. Work includes luxury hotels like the Baltimore Convention Hilton, Marriott, Sagamore Pendry, Four Seasons, and transformational parks like the redesign of Rash Field, Pierce’s Park and Center Plaza. Their concepts for outdoor amenities like rooftop green space, swimming decks and outdoor meeting spaces have become staples at housing projects like Anthem House, Union Wharf, The Fitzgerald and The Vue. Outside of Baltimore’s business district, MRA has worked on planning for neighborhoods like Jonestown, Pigtown, Waverly, Homeland and Roland Park, while also completing comprehensive plans like Baltimore City’s Open Space Master Plan and the award winning Green Tracks vegetative rail feasibility research.
“There is no job we won’t consider doing, and that’s not because we’ll work for anybody and any standard, but because we see value in creating wonderful spaces regardless of the project type,” says Jones. “We pride ourselves for taking on projects like Baltimore Food Hub, or Sarah’s Hope Family Shelter in West Baltimore, where we were able to design a much needed place for families to decompress. They now have a lawn, trees and flowering plants where it used to be concrete and asphalt.”
MRA’s work is as diverse as its staff with expertise ranging from large scale commercial, hospitality, healthcare, transportation, academic, housing and retail. Stay tuned for the next segment that will delve into Mahan Rykiel Associate’s social impact studio, why they created it, and what some of the studio’s most recent work is setting out to accomplish.
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