Design Pittsburgh 2012

See the winners of this year's juried competition

By Posted on October 12, 2012


PROJECT: Gateway Station – North Shore Connector
CLIENT: Port Authority of Allegheny County
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Light/Motion Collaborative
CONTRACTOR: Whiting-Turner
PHOTOGRAPHER: Massery Photography, Inc.
ENGINEERS: AECOM; Atlantic Engineering Services; Allen & Shariff Corporation

DESCRIPTION: Gateway Station is the centerpiece of a 1.2-mile extension of the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s light rail system.  Located in the heart of the Golden Triangle business district, the station provides intermodal connections and dramatic views of the city.  The extensive use of glass introduces natural light deep into the station and serves as a visible gateway and readily identifiable landmark.

JURY COMMENTS:  As the entry says, “It is intuitive, it’s transparent, and it’s transit.”  The architect captured this very essence. This is a wonderful piece of civic architecture and a recognition of how integrated and important public transit is to the identity of a city. By recognizing transit through such a clear and aesthetic means, this project announces that the people of Pittsburgh value their public transit system. The choice of materials celebrates the steel and glass heritage of the city and the expression of the materials celebrates the technology and innovation that make Pittsburgh Pittsburgh.  Great job of exploding the box.


PROJECT: Ford Hall, Engineering and Molecular Sciences Building
CLIENT: Smith College
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
CONTRACTOR: William A. Berry & Son, Inc.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Woodruff/Brown Architectural Photography
ENGINEERS: Fuss & O’Neill; Gibble Norden Champion Brown; vanZelm Engineers

DESCRIPTION: Ford Hall is the first phase of a new science and technology lawn to be developed over the next several decades. The glazed multi-story Great Hall extends into the central green space, anticipating future developments that will gather around it.

JURY COMMENTS: The elements are nicely proportioned down to and including the integration and articulation of the fume hoods.  The interior structure reminds us of the structure of molecular biology.  The green roofs and the expression of rain water harvesting are well done.


PROJECT: PNC Legacy Project
CLIENT: PNC Realty Services
CONTRACTOR: Turner Construction Company
PHOTOGRAPHER: Massery Photography, Inc.
ENGINEERS: Cenkner Engineering Associates

DESCRIPTION: The once Liberty Travel building, littered with billboards, has been renovated using a limited number of materials to create a landmark instead of an armature for advertisement.  The renovation takes full advantage of its prominent location to dramatically transform its image and increase its usability for PNC’s Legacy Project, which highlights PNC’s devotion to funding community and non-profit groups throughout their history in Pittsburgh.

JURY COMMENTS: This building is its own little feisty self.  We would love to have such a place in Detroit.  The building is a beacon which will draw people to the corner.  The green features like the treatment of storm water and the sloped green roof are artfully done.  There is a nice juxtaposition of materials.


PROJECT: Chevron Chemistry Annex
CLIENT: University of Pittsburgh
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Wilson Architects, Inc. + Renaissance 3 Architects, P.C.
CONTRACTOR: Mascaro Construction Company
PHOTOGRAPHER: Esto Photographics / Massery Photography, Inc.
ENGINEERS: The Gateway Engineers, Inc.; Barber & Hoffman Inc.; Affiliated Engineers Metro DC, Inc.

DESCRIPTION: The Chevron Chemistry Annex is an air rights addition to the existing teaching/research Chevron Tower; this addition provides needed expansion of laboratory space to enhance the quality of the research setting and revitalize the chemistry experience at the school.  The open laboratory ‘ballroom’ concept was developed and applied easily to both the renovated floors and addition, enhancing safety, interchangeable casework components, and robust laboratory services for long-term flexibility.

JURY COMMENTS: This is an example of a very skillful addition to an existing building.  Done in the air rights of the original building the new structure appears to float above the old.  The thoughtful use of materials for the interior spaces warms up what is usually a cold space and breaks the traditional lab feel.  The sunscreens above the windows is a wonderful detail.  The architect very successfully belies the white coat building feel.


PROJECT: Student Activity Center
CLIENT: University of Texas, Austin
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: WTW Architects/Overland Partners Architects (Lead Firm)
PHOTOGRAPHER: Chris Cooper Photographer
ENGINEERS: Davcar Engineering Services; Datum Gojer; HMG & Associates

DESCRIPTION: As a university with one of the largest student bodies in the nation, the University of Texas at Austin planned a building to serve their growing student population on the East side of campus, culminating after almost 60 years of student lobbying for another dedicated social and cultural center.  The Student Activity Center focuses on activity spaces including performance spaces, event spaces, meeting spaces, casual lounges, dining spaces, and outdoor gathering spaces.

JURY COMMENTS: This is a very handsome building with a nice eye to the campus.  There are welcoming open spaces for gathering and a nice layered geometry to the interior. The entry extends the welcoming feel by coming down to human scale. The jury appreciated the scale of the exterior stone masonry and the patterning it created.

ARCHITECTURE: Certificate of Merit

PROJECT: University of California Riverside – Materials Science and Engineering Building
CLIENT: University of California, Riverside
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
CONTRACTOR: Edge Development, Inc.
ENGINEERS: KPFF Consulting Engineers; Saiful/Bouquet Structural Engineers, Inc.; M+W Zander U.S. Operations, Inc.; ME Engineers

DESCRIPTION: Located at the edge of the university’s academic campus, the materials science and engineering building acts as a threshold;  It sits in the arroyo, a dry riverbed where a drastic change in topography previously separated a recreational facility from the heart of campus; it capitalizes on its site by transforming the vacant greenery into a usable amenity in the harsh desert climate.

JURY COMMENTS: The building has a nautical feel, like a boat in a moat.  This is a big building in which the architect defined the circulation with cross-axis geometry and very skillfully created an area where the students congregate.  This analytically simple move resulted in a rich outcome due to the layers inherent in the design.

ARCHITECTURE: Certificate of Merit

PROJECT: Western Avenue Loft
CLIENT: Michael Ramsey, Ph.D.
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects
CONTRACTOR: Continental Building Systems
PHOTOGRAPHER: Massery Photography, Inc.
ENGINEERS: Watson Engineers; Iams Consulting, LLC

DESCRIPTION: This 1960s structure was once an architect’s office, a bakery, and court offices.  The owner wanted to transform the second floor into a contemporary living space and urban refuge while retaining the first floor for commercial tenant use.  Due to the mid-block location, there were limited opportunities for light and air, which was countered by the removal of a section of roof mid-plan.  The resulting courtyard becomes an organizing element and focal point for all areas of the loft.

JURY COMMENTS: This urban refuge has a wonderful sense of retreat with clean lines and a nice transparency.  There is a strong Japanese aesthetic to the interior.  The jury would have liked to have seen more.

ARCHITECTURE: Certificate of Merit

PROJECT: Croghan’s Edge Townhomes
CLIENT: E Properties & Development: Emeka Onwugbenu
CONTRACTOR: Structural Modulars, Inc.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Jason Snyder Photographer
ENGINEERS: KAG Engineering; Atlantic Engineering Services

DESCRIPTION: To address a difficult infill challenge in a dense urban location, these townhomes address the neighborhood rowhouse scale with a contemporary interpretation, embracing the modularity with distinct prefab “boxes” of contrasting finish materials.

JURY COMMENTS: This infill residential project of modest scale clearly demonstrates that you do not need a big budget to do good design.  The architect treated the issues of cost and aesthetics seriously and the results show.  The jury likes the way the building engages the corner and the outdoors and the interesting floor plans.

ARCHITECTURE: Green Design Citation

PROJECT: Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center
CLIENT: Dartmouth College
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
PHOTOGRAPHER: Paul Warchol Photography, Inc.
ENGINEERS: Engineering Ventures; Ryan Biggs Associates, PC; vanZelm Heywood and Shadford; The Sextant Group; Jacobs Consultancy

DESCRIPTION: The LEED Platinum Center joins 30 faculty researchers that were previously located in remote laboratories on and off campus.  The 174,000 sf building houses a 6,400 sf greenhouse, an NMR suite, 6 open research suites, teaching laboratories, and various instructional rooms.

JURY COMMENTS: The jury enjoyed the diagramming of the environment throughout the building.   The rainwater harvesting and daylighting were logically communicated and clear.  The jury’s favorite spot was the outdoor terrace which overlooks the green roof.

ARCHITECTURE: Green Design Citation

PROJECT: The Irwin Studio
CLIENT: Andy and Steve Irwin
CONTRACTOR: Carpenter Construction, Inc.
ENGINEERS: Watson Engineering

DESCRIPTION:  The Irwin Studio is a net-zero guesthouse and flex-space featuring SIPS walls, radiant floors, a solar hot water system, and PV panels.  Ongoing monitoring by a CMU professor will provide info on the effectiveness of the energy-saving strategies.

JURY COMMENTS: Bravo to the architect for celebrating the technology of solar collection.


PROJECT: Slopes Pylon
CLIENT: South Side Local Development Company/South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects
CONTRACTOR: Technique Architectural Products
PHOTOGRAPHER: Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects
ENGINEERS: Konefal & Company, Inc.; Iams Consulting, LLC

DESCRIPTION: In an existing community garden that bridges two neighborhoods (South Side Flats and South Side Slopes), the creation of a gateway marker on a compact, high-visibility wedge of land was sought.  The pylon is a self-portrait of the neighborhood, rendered in steel, aluminum, and glass.  Its verticality is symbolic of the Slopes’ hillside setting, with triangular forms alluding to both the site and Pittsburgh’s three-river geography.

JURY COMMENTS: In a word: beautiful. This striking pylon appropriately uses materials that depict the surrounding context and history of this typical Pittsburgh neighborhood.

DESIGN + INNOVATION: Award of Excellence

PROJECT: Pittsburgh’s Tribute to Children
CLIENT: The Fred Rogers Company / Colcom Foundation
CONTRACTOR: Astorino Development Company
ENGINEERS: Raudenbush Engineering, Inc.; Astorino

DESCRIPTION: This project was commissioned to preserve the legacy of Mr. Rogers as a pioneer in child development, meant to be a space that not only honors his life and legacy, but also serves as a place that fosters the relationship between children, family, and community.

JURY COMMENTS: This is a wonderful example of reconstituting an existing structure that highlights the original structure and honors the memory of Fred Rogers.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION: Award of Excellence & Green Design Citation

PROJECT: South Hills Retirement Residence
CLIENT: AM Rodriguez
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Rothschild Doyno Collaborative and Thoughtful Balance
CONTRACTOR: SOTA Construction Services, Inc.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Denmarsh Photography, Inc.
ENGINEERS: The Gateway Engineers, Inc.; Atlantic Engineering Group; Iams Consulting, LLC

DESCRIPTION: After sitting vacant for 20 years, the adaptive reuse of the former South Hills High School creates 106 units of housing, community spaces, and 12,000 sf of commercial space.  The project received LEED Gold certification and incorporates innovative building systems including a cogeneration plant and a photo-voltaic array.

JURY COMMENTS: This adaptive reuse project exemplifies our societal contract to be good to each other.  The architect skillfully takes a building built by and for the public and transforms and recycles it to serve the elderly.  It shows a nice synergy of life expectancy.  This is a valuable addition to the neighborhood.


PROJECT: Undergraduate Chemistry Labs
CLIENT: University of Pittsburgh
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Renaissance 3 Architects, P.C.
CONTRACTOR: Mascaro Consruction Company
PHOTOGRAPHER: Massery Photography, Inc.
ENGINEERS: Dodson Engineering, Inc.; Tower Engineering

DESCRIPTION: The renovation of the 2nd floor of the Chevron Science Center includes four 1,200 sf General Chemistry labs, stock rooms, and dispensing facility.  Requirements included that the labs are broken up into three zones: wet benches, instrumentation benches, and a contained recitation write-up area, which is separated by a glass partition.

JURY COMMENTS: This is not your father’s lab. This lab is elegant with a sophisticated and refined use of color.  Labs are usually throw away space. Not so here. This interior is unexpected and demonstrates the care and thought the architect put into the project.


PROJECT: Wigle Whiskey Distillery
CLIENT: Wigle Whiskey Distillery
PHOTOGRAPHER: EDGE studio/Anna Lee Fields Photography
ENGINEERS: WBCM; Allen & Shariff Corporation

DESCRIPTION: The adaptive reuse of a turn-of-the-century space transformed a warehouse into a bright, modern, and sustainable space, reconfiguring the old fashioned whiskey salon into a public space for retail and events and another for the manufacturing of whiskey.

JURY COMMENTS: A playful, cheerful, and fun interior. There is a good use of color and the sparkle created by the interplay between the distillery equipment, glassware, bottles, and aluminum surfaces is very nice. The garage doors are a good transition between the “factory” area and the tasting area.


PROJECT: Center for Student Success
CLIENT: University of Pittsburgh – College of Business Administration
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: The Design Alliance Architects
CONTRACTOR: Landau Building Company
PHOTOGRAPHER: The Design Alliance Architects
ENGINEERS:Pyramid Engineering, PC

DESCRIPTION: The Center for Student Success was created via a renovation to support the College’s “2014 Breakthrough Goals”, which focuses on the launching of the graduates’ business careers.  The space was made to visually reinforce a culture that supports both academics and career development.

JURY COMMENTS: The architect’s refusal to respect boundaries makes this an award winning project.  The carving out of a space between the floor and ceiling energized the spaces.  The jury also liked the sweeping gestures of the floor and ceilings that helps to unify all of the space.


PROJECT: Eco Bistro
CLIENT: Parkhurst Dining Services, Inc.
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Lami Grubb Architects, LP
CONTRACTOR: Mosites Construction Company
PHOTOGRAPHER: Lami Grubb Architects, LP
ENGINEERS: Cenkner Engineering Associates, Inc.

DESCRIPTION: A corporate facility for PNC in Allegheny Center Mall, Eco Bistro provides a convenient community space to dine within the mall concourse or in an adjacent outdoor seating area.  There was a hefty reuse of left behind kitchen equipment and materials were carefully chosen for recycled content or their manufacture from rapidly renewable resources.

JURY COMMENTS: A very comprehensive sustainable program from food to waste.


PROJECT: Allegheny Riverfront Vision Plan
CLIENT: Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
PHOTOGRAPHER: Charles Uhl, Senator John Heinz History Museum, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Perkins Eastman, Cahill and Associates, CH2M hill, Viridian Landscape Studio, Trans Associates, GSP Consulting

DESCRIPTION: An urban design plan for 6.5 miles along the Allegheny River that proposes a new model for neighborhood riverfronts throughout Pittsburgh’s 30+ miles of riverfront.  The Vision Plan introduces a new type of infrastructure that recognizes that long-range sustainability depends on understanding and using the city’s infrastructure.

JURY COMMENTS: This is more than a plan, it is a compelling vision.  The architect reclaims the industrialized riverfronts by engaging the natural environment. The jury applauds the public process that was undertaken.


PROJECT: The Oakland 2025 Master Plan: A Vision for Mobility & Sustainability
CLIENT: Oakland Planning & Development Corporation
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Pfaffmann + Associates/Studio for Spatial Practice
PHOTOGRAPHER: Pfaffmann + Associates/Studio for Spatial Practice

DESCRIPTION: Engaging all of Oakland’s community members, institutions, partners, and public agencies, the master plan identifies key urban design development opportunities, and improvements in housing, transportation, open space, and business district development.

JURY COMMENTS: This plan is a bold and innovative vision to transform a rapidly growing community by focusing on its transportation and housing initiatives.  The jury applauds the extent of the public process and the care the architect used in considering the communities’ needs.


PROJECT: Almono Vision
CLIENT: Almono Vision
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Rothschild Doyno Collaborative

DESCRIPTION: The Almono Vision transforms the last vacant large-scale riverfront brownfield site in the City of Pittsburgh into a vibrant series of neighborhood districts.  A “River Road” moves across the site, connecting districts and the existing community while providing a regional connection to this mile and a half of riverfront.

JURY COMMENTS: This is a very thoughtful plan that considers the diverse challenges to bringing back a community in decline. The architect successfully transforms the challenges into opportunities by presenting a doable vision, which would bring value to the existing community and its people as well as the region.


PROJECT: Market Square Place
CLIENT: Millcraft Industries
CONTRACTOR: TEDCO Construction Corporation
PHOTOGRAPHER: Dennis Marsico and J. Altdorfer Photography
ENGINEERS: Atlantic Engineering Services; Tower Construction Services

DESCRIPTION: Market Square Place is a complex urban restoration project that brought a new blend of tenants and new life to a key retail district in Downtown.  The project combined seven individual buildings into a single mixed-use complex with the first floor devoted to retail, upper floors containing a YMCA fitness center and 46 residential units, and the basement providing parking and the YMCA’s swimming pool.

JURY COMMENTS: This new urban square is good for the city and reenergizes the storefronts. The synergy of the solid and the void work together, perfect for an urban space.  The scale really works.  This is more like a European square.


PROJECT: Moscow Concept Master Plan
CLIENT: City of Moscow (GenPlan)
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Urban Design Associates
PHOTOGRAPHER: Urban Design Associates

DESCRIPTION: This team was one of nine selected by the City of Moscow to prepare concepts for growth of the city.  Their approach was based on a spiritual framework that would apply Moscow’s unique DNA to all aspects of the expansion.

JURY COMMENTS: Congratulations. This plan has wonderful energy and the renderings are beautiful.


PROJECT: Novitiate Chapel
CLIENT: The Sisters of Charity at Seton Hill
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Celli-Flynn Brennan Architects & Planners
CONTRACTOR: Pevarnik Bros., Inc.
ENGINEERS: Simonds and Simonds, Environmental Planning & Design; Celli-Flynn Brennan Architects & Planners; CJL Engineering

DESCRIPTION: Built in 1961, the chapel exemplifies many characteristics that would be appropriate in today’s goal of a more sustainable environment.  Simplicity and clean lines are created with natural stone quarried less than 20 miles from site and natural wood fashioned within the state.  The chapel became and remains the center of the Sisters’ religious life.

JURY COMMENTS: This is a simple, enduring, and classic building.  It is a very warm and welcoming place to worship.


PROJECT: Symphony Bridge
PARTICIPANT: Beatrice Spolidoro

DESCRIPTION: The aim is to create a special and unique place that can be interesting not only for people living near the bridge.  This is done through the creation of a pedestrian passage and two bike trails.  Along this passage, the bridge will be equipped with little instruments that can make music out of the vibrations caused by the trains, by nature, or by the people passing through.

JURY COMMENTS: This is a strong idea with interesting potential.  It could be an event where the public participates all the way to a symphony performance.  It is a very organic notion.  And from one jury member…”I am dying to steal this concept.”


PROJECT: Undergraduate Chemistry Labs
CLIENT: University of Pittsburgh
ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Renaissance 3 Architects, P.C.
CONTRACTOR: Mascaro Consruction Company
PHOTOGRAPHER: Massery Photography, Inc.

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3 Responses to Design Pittsburgh 2012

  1. Pingback: AIA Silver Medal Award

  2. Many of these are really fabulous, and I love the plans for urban redevelopment! Kudos to my hometown, where my heart still is.


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