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...
Striking a Balance Between Voice and Vision
Terry Schwarz's Keynote Address at Build Pittsburgh 2018
By Maya Henry Posted on April 19, 2018
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...
Petrochemical America: From Cancer Alley to Toxic Valley
Environmentally Anxious Art at SPACE Gallery
By Bea Spolidoro, AIA Posted on October 2, 2017
”Great nations, write their autobiographies in three manuscripts – the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art”, said J. Ruskin (St. Mark’s rest; the history of Venice. (1877). The exhibition PETROCHEMICAL AMERICA: From Cancer Alley to Toxic Valley, currently at SPACE Gallery until October 7, is an exquisite example of how to touch on all the three manuscripts in one show, while leaving for us to decide whether the nation is getting greater or not. Curator Sophie Riedel walked me through the exhibition, showing how Louisiana’s natural geography has been radically repurposed into a vast network for extracting and storing. One wall at the exhibit relays the history of environmental injustice in...
Young Architects for an Equitable Pittsburgh
View All the Submissions During This Year's Design Pittsburgh
By Bea Spolidoro, AIA Posted on September 25, 2017
Young Architects Forum members at an informal “Salotto” The Young Architects Studio Competition (YASC) is a special competition within AIA Pittsburgh’s Design Awards. Currently in its 8th edition, Nick Doichev, AIA established the competition in 2010 as an opportunity to recognize the talent of emerging professionals (defined as still studying or a maximum of ten years out of school). In years past, much creativity has been showcased, but the 2017 edition is particularly special. For the first time, the Young Architects Forum (YAF) has come up with a theme for the come up with a theme for the competition based on a discussion of Pittsburgh’s needs. In spring 2017 YAF held a series of meetings, informally called “Salottos” – an...
Pittsburgh Energy Innovation Center Achieves LEED Platinum Certification
Preservation Project Achieves Peak Performance
By Maya Henry Posted on July 18, 2017
Photo courtesy Green Building Alliance. A remarkable example of building reuse and historic restoration, a Pittsburgh state-of-the-art green building has successfully met the goal of achieving a high-level LEED Platinum certification. On July 18, community leaders and government officials, architects, designers, and contractors all gathered to celebrate the the achievement. The project team includes DLA+ as architect, CJL Engineering as MEP engineer, Klavon Design Associates as landscape architect, evolveEA as the sustainability consultant, and Mascaro Construction as general contractor. The 200,000 square-foot Energy Innovation Center (EIC), which hosts trade apprenticeship programs, energy-related technology labs for five universities, co-working facilities, and other production, design, and workspaces for nonprofit organizations and businesses, was opened in 2015 in the former Connelley Trade School Building....
The Midwife Center’s Expansion Creatively Highlights Women’s Health
Rothschild Doyno Collaborative's design uses iconic mural to weave together old and new
By Maya Henry Posted on June 27, 2017
Photo by Maya Henry This March, nine months after it broke ground on a new 6,700 square-foot expansion, The Midwife Center for Birth and Women’s Health opened its new facility and became the largest free-standing birth center in the United States. Local architects Rothschild Doyno Collaborative were selected as the design team and both client and architect saw numerous benefits from working together as neighbors. The Midwife Center didn’t set out to work with their new Strip District neighbor when the freestanding birth center was thinking about expansion in 2010. The facility has doubled the number of births and gynecological visits in the practice since 2010 and the expansion would allow for two new birthing suites to better match demand...
Lessons in Human Nature
Anne Swager's 27 Years with AIA Pittsburgh
By Becky Spevack Posted on June 21, 2017
Anne Swager, Hon. AIA has been called many things – progressive, outspoken, ballsy, an ally, a foe, compassionate, cheerleader, easily distracted, thinker of big ideas. And for the past 27 years, she’s also been called Executive Director of AIA Pittsburgh. With Anne’s recent retirement on June 5th we are re-running this inspiring interview with then-editor Becky Spevack. Best of luck in your future travels Anne! Columns: First things first, did you ever expect to be at the AIA this long, to make a career out of it? Anne Swager: No, absolutely not! I never thought I would be around this long. You know, my mom used to say she thought I’d become an architect but my kindergarten teacher spent the...
The Nonprofit Paradox: High-Performance on a Budget
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Annex, Byham Center for Dance
By Nicole Grayburn and Melanie Como Harris, AIA Posted on April 17, 2017
All photos Adam Warner, IKM Incorporated “High-performance building” takes on new meaning when showcasing a visual art like ballet. When the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre announced plans to build an expansion in 2013, they accepted an obligation to grow responsibly and ensure the longevity of a beloved arts organization. With this obligation comes a distinct set of priorities (and constraints) for nonprofit organizations where sustainable practices often fall short in the face of time and budget. How, then, does a brand in the business of “pushing the limits,” push the limits of green design on a budget? In partnership with IKM, a firm committed to the goals of the AIA 2030 Challenge, the Ballet agreed on a design that puts art on...
ACTION-Housing’s Penn Mathilda Development
What an Affordable Housing Solution Can Look Like in an Urban Neighborhood Business District
By Maya Henry Posted on March 28, 2017
All photos by Nathaniel Rice courtesy ACTION-Housing, Inc. unless otherwise noted. ACTION-Housing’s Penn Mathilda development designed by mossArchitects seems to defy conventions about what affordable housing is, can, and should be. The project provides 39 units of affordable housing with half reserved for veterans. Additionally, the commercial spaces are fully leased to arts-based, locally-grown businesses including Assemble, Level Up Studios, and Silver Eye Center for Photography. The project is contextual, adjacent to public transportation, and takes into consideration the Penn Avenue Corridor Master Plan that recommends that new developments be pedestrian-oriented and contain ground floor retail, restaurant, and gallery uses to promote active storefronts. Columns recently sat down with developer Lena Andrews of ACTION-Housing and architect Andrew Moss, AIA of mossArchitects to discuss the project....
Four Benefits of Creating Transit-Oriented Development with Mixed-Income Housing
Can Housing Be Truly Affordable Without Public Transit?
By Maya Henry Posted on January 25, 2017
When transit-oriented development is combined with mixed-income housing the benefits multiply. Transportation is a hidden cost of living and is at the heart of equitable access to services and jobs. It’s difficult to have truly affordable housing without access to multi-modal transportation choices. Transportation is so crucial to healthy communities that former Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx called it “one of the top social justice issues of our time.” Local officials agree. Last year at an event at Pitt’s Institute of Politics Kevin Acklin, Chief of Staff to Mayor Peduto, said, “transportation can be a bridge to lift people out of poverty.” He noted that the administration is paying special attention to places of disinvestment and displacement. The p4 PITTSBURGH PolicyLink...