Young Architects Studio Competition 2019

The 2019 YASC Challenge

Architecture for the Bloomfield Shursave IGA site

(image credit: Bloomfield Central Gateway Development Guidelines, 2019, p. 6, Studio for Spatial Practice)

Located at the bustling intersection of Liberty Avenue, Main Street, Howley Street, and the Bloomfield Bridge, the Bloomfield Shursave IGA is an unremarkable modernist-era neighborhood grocery store that has sufficiently served as a source of mainstays for people in Bloomfield, Garfield, Lawrenceville, the Upper Hill District, Polish Hill, and beyond.

Shursave’s prominent location at the gateway to the Bloomfield neighborhood has made it a sought after piece of property for developers. Over the years, development offers have been attempted and have fell through. Residents and customers of the store have expressed resistance to development proposals that could harm the quality of life in the neighborhood, particularly in terms of uses, affordability, design, and transit.

In response to the concerns of the community, in the winter of 2019, Bloomfield Development Corporation partnered with Action Housing and Studio for Spatial Practice led a series of workshops that empowered the residents to express their values and ideas of how the future of the Bloomfield Shursave site should be shaped. The result of these workshops was a report that captured the community values, established development guidelines for the Shursave site, and offered neighborhood-wide guidelines.(

The challenge for this year’s YASC is to build off the guidelines found in the published report and propose an architectural solution to what could possibly be a future for the site of the Bloomfield Shursave IGA.

The possibilities are open-ended and creativity in architectural design, urban design, and programming is encouraged. The goal is to show the talent and vision of the young architects of Pittsburgh to design something inspirational within one of our own neighborhoods.


  1. SITE: The design proposal should primarily exist within the bounds of the Shursave property, as it extends to the right of way and adjacent property lines (see above image as a guide). However, if it is critical to the effectiveness of your design proposal, you may frame the proposal within a larger urban planning strategy (ex. the adjacent roadways).
  2. TYPOLOGY: It is at the discretion of the participant if they wish to propose a complete, “ground-up” redevelopment of the property, or propose a creative reuse of existing building (or a portion of it). Participants are encouraged to visit the site to understand the existing conditions as thoroughly as possible.
  3. CONTEXT: Participants are encouraged to thoroughly examine the robust cultural, historical, and ecological context of the Suresave site, and frame the proposal with this context. Proposals should be directly responsive to the ideas illustrated in the community workshop report (see link above).


All judging will be completely anonymous.  Judges will consider the following:

  • Comprehensive quality of the author’s written statement
  • How well the design solution communicates its vision and detail
  • Creativity of the design, materials, explanation, and solution
  • Constructability of the solution, and sustainability of the materials

The design should be both memorable and impactful while promoting principles of safety, creativity and diversity that create healthy environments for all residents and visitors. The proposed design should develop an appropriate character/place/experience suited to Pittsburgh, and respect historic assets when applicable.


Enter the competition as an individual or create a design team! Individual entries must come from either an architecture graduate or undergraduate. AIA/AIAS membership is not required; however, individual entrants and team members must be located within AIA Pittsburgh’s 11-county area.

  • Architecture Graduates
    Individual architecture graduates, who have been out of school for no more than ten years, are eligible to enter this competition. Entrants may or may not be licensed to practice architecture.
  • Architecture Undergraduates
    Individual architecture undergraduates, who are currently enrolled in an architecture program, are eligible to enter this competition.
  • Design Teams
    The teams must be lead by an architecture graduate and/or undergraduate and can include graduates, who have been out of school for no more than ten years, or undergraduates in a design industry related field which can include, but is not limited to engineers, landscape architects, or artists.



  • Friday, August 30th: Submission Request Forms must be received by AIA Pittsburgh via email to
  • Tuesday, September 3rd: Project submission must be received by AIA Pittsburgh via DropBox by midnight to be eligible for judging.

View a variety of past proposals from AIA Pittsburgh’s Young Architects Studio Competition (YASC) that focus on design solutions for urban voids and underutilized places and spaces along the riverfronts.