Why Color Matters

Two Projects Demonstrate the Importance of Color in Design

By Maya Henry, COLUMNS Editor Posted on November 15, 2018

Color trends may come and go, but the psychology of color is long-standing and universal.  Reds can stir up anger and passion while blues and greens are calming.  Designers who can blend these basic theories with contemporary color trends are more likely to create spaces that resonate with actual users.  People might not know why they feel better in a space, but chances are it has a lot to do with the colors the designer has chosen. Incorporating ideas of biophilia, our inherent connection to the environment, is becoming increasingly popular as new technologies allow for shapes and materials to more closely mimic nature.  Users are demanding natural building materials, ample light, and fresh air that combines to create a...

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The Diversity of Sustainability and Resilience in Design

Submissions for the 2018 Design Awards

By Maya Henry Posted on September 20, 2018

New for Design Pittsburgh 2018, any built project submitted in another Design Awards category is eligible to also be reviewed for the Excellence in Sustainability + Resiliency award category.  This award recognizes built projects that have successfully integrated sustainable and/or resilient building strategies and practices into the design. As defined by the AIA Pittsburgh Design Pittsburgh Committee, sustainability envisions the enduring prosperity of all living things, while sustainable design seeks to create communities, buildings, and products that contribute to this vision.  Resilience is the capacity to adapt to changing conditions and to maintain/regain functionality and vitality in the face of stress or disturbance, while resilient design is the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities, and regions in response to these...

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Striking a Balance Between Voice and Vision

Terry Schwarz's Keynote Address at Build Pittsburgh 2018

By Maya Henry Posted on April 19, 2018

Image credit CUDC/MOOS. The theme of Build Pittsburgh 2018 was “design with purpose.”  This year’s Keynote Address was given by Terry Schwarz, FAICP to a crowded ballroom of early risers who gathered to hear about design culture and community engagement from the director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC).  Schwarz began her presentation by proposing that community design does not need to be about the community OR design (discuss!) but that placemaking could, in fact, include both facets working together.  Portions of Schwarz’s keynote address are captured here. Schwarz began by showing examples of her early fascination with Bauhaus design and then showed how residents repurposed the spare spaces in Mies van der Rohe’s Layfette Park in Detroit...

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Book Review

Great Design is Not a Finite Resource

A Review of John Cary's Design for Good

By Robert Bailey, AIA Posted on March 28, 2018

This is a book about stories – remarkable stories –that are primarily about people and secondarily about satisfying design projects. The stories tell us of projects that came to fruition because people had the will to make them happen. We learn about architects who realized that their mission is designing for social justice. We discover the individuals engaged in nonprofit or nongovernmental agency work that the designers have partnered with in moving these projects forward. Most importantly, we learn about people who have been directly affected by the projects described in the stories. Author John Cary is an architect by training and an advocate for architecture born of, and contributing, to social change. Cary is also a writer and speaker...

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Restored by the Fords

Architects on Reality TV

By Maya Henry Posted on March 8, 2018

Greg Dutton and Matt Diersen, AIA of Midland Architecture have had a long working relationship with interior designer Leanne Ford, completing many residential projects, both in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. In fact, one of their first collaborations was just awarded Best Kitchen Renovation by Pittsburgh Magazine.  So when Ms. Ford, along with her carpenter brother Steve, was looking for an architect to help with the technical aspects involved in bringing the ideas to life for their new renovation show, they reached out to Midland to collaborate. The pilot episode of Restored by the Fords aired in December on HGTV and after a well-received first season, a second season has already been green-lit. The show features types of homes that you see all over the city...

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Q&A with Kuza Woodard of IMPACCT Brooklyn

What Can Pittsburgh Learn from Brooklyn's Struggle to Maintain Affordability?

By Maya Henry Posted on February 24, 2018

These days Pittsburgh and Brooklyn share a similar dilemma: the rapid acceleration of a real estate market that makes affordable housing development and preservation highly challenging for nonprofits.  Recently Columns spoke with Kuza Woodard, Director of Real Estate for the nonprofit advocacy group IMPACCT Brooklyn about the creative partners and funding mechanisms that have aided his organization in its mission to maintain and develop affordable housing options in Central Brooklyn. Maya Henry, Editor, Columns (MH): Tell us a little bit about IMPACCT Brooklyn and your role there. Kuza Woodard (KW): IMPACCT Brooklyn has been around since 1964, so over 50 years providing all kinds of community improvement services in Central Brooklyn.  Our focus areas are affordable housing, home ownership, as well as...

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Freedom by Design at Carnegie Mellon University

Free Weatherization Program Connects Students and Community

By Elizabeth Levy Posted on February 4, 2018

The Carnegie Mellon University chapter of Freedom by Design has taken on their first project to introduce and disperse weatherization kits into homes across Pittsburgh. These kits provide families with a series of means to help insulate their home and a booklet outlining the importance of this cost-saving process. The long winter of Pittsburgh causes high heating costs for many residents across the state. Creating energy efficient spaces benefits the resident both financially and thermally. It is important for one to understand the role they can take in keeping heating costs low and their home warm. The FBD team has prototyped and established a packaged kit organized to assist homeowners and renters across a series of communities in Pittsburgh. The...

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Shelter: Crafting a Safe Home

A Conversation with Contemporary Craft Executive Director Janet McCall

By Maya Henry Posted on February 1, 2018

Holly Grace. Round Mountain Hut, 2015. Blown glass kiln formed with glass powder and metal leaf surfaces, sandblasted imagery – with internal light. 7.5″ x 13.75″ x 8.6″. Photo courtesy of Holly Grace. Shelter is universally identified as a basic human right, yet refuge and protection are out of reach for millions worldwide. To bring this subject to light, Contemporary Craft (CC) opened Shelter: Crafting a Safe Home, a socially engaged art experience, in September 2017, to focus public attention on the basic human need for safe housing. The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, February 17th at CC’s Strip District gallery located in the Produce Terminal at the intersection of 21st and Smallman Streets. Featuring more than 40...

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What Did You Say?

Public Input on Design Pittsburgh Submissions

By Maya Henry Posted on December 5, 2017

As part of the People’s Choice Award voting this year (over 3,415 online votes), we asked each person to tell us why they voted for their selection.  We received over 1,400 comments and we read every single one!  Here we have a selection of the projects that received the most comments from the general public, the people who use and see the buildings every day. Zerega Residence Addition and Renovations Client: Megan and Todd Zerega Architecture Firm: qkArchitecture Contractor: Jimmy Johns Construction, LLC Photographer: Luke Mawhinney Landscape Architect: Gwen Wisniewski Landscape and Garden Design, LLC Everything was perfect, except for the house. Our clients sought our services as the housing stock in their most desired neighborhood was turning up limited options in their search...

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#IMadeThat, From Youth to Professionals

Pittsburgh's Architecture Learning Network

By Samantha Weaver Posted on November 18, 2017

Images of the ACE Mentorship Program, photo credit Anastasia Dubnicay.  Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation Architecture Design Challenge, photo credit Louise Sturgess.  CMU Saturday Sequence Program, photo credit Paul Moscoso Pittsburgh is a city that embodies an interconnected web of makers and learners of all ages, truly living up to its title as one of America’s City of Learning. No matter your age, each citizen of the world has knowledge and expertise about their environment and can have agency to effect change in their communities. Pittsburgh’s Architecture Learning Network is one partnership in the city where eight non-profits have joined forces to support architecture educational programs in the region. The result is an architecture-learning pathway that helps youth prepare for...

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