Last week, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl unveiled a plan to resuscitate 2,000 acres of brownfield property alongside the Allegheny River. The report, the Allegheny Riverfront Vision Plan, follows a two-year study headed up by Perkins Eastman. Much of the planning sprung from meetings with the resident and business communities, and aims to connect neighborhoods to the river for the first time. Cities throughout the country continue to reclaim their rivers, but Pittsburgh’s situation is unique. “The neighborhoods were built to serve industry not the river,” said Stephen Quick, a principal at Perkins Eastman. “You don’t even see the river from the communities. This was not Savannah.” While much of Pittsburgh maintains waterfront access, Quick said the city did not have a vision plan for areas upriver from Downtown. The new plan encompasses five neighborhoods that face the river, from Downtown to Highland Park. But the neighborhoods sit further inland, as industry preferred the flat riverside land for factories and the waterfront access for hauling and dumping. Street grids and sidewalks stop at the factory door. For generations of Pittsburghers, the river was a facility, in more ways than one. In addition to serving as an industrial transitway, the river was an integral part of the city's sewers system. Today, Pittsburgh employs a Combined Sewer Outlet system to handle both sanitary and rainwater runoff. Overflow spills into the Allegheny. The design team knew the system could handle the sanitary use, so the recommendations focused on employing pervious surfaces, creating green streets and planting brownfields and alleyways to absorb runoff. It’s a method that has gained traction in policy and planning elsewhere. Park departments in New York and Philadelphia both released similar documents over the past three months. The Pittsburgh plan has already attracted the attention of the Federal government, which awarded the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority $1.5 million in TIGER II funds to further study transforming a freight rail bed into a “rail-with-trail green boulevard”. The line will become the green spine connecting the five neighborhoods along the river. Culturally, however, it may take time for a public that has never really thought of its riverfront as a playground. “We’ve begun to get good access by putting in trails that are very close to the river, but there’s still a lot of industry on the edge,” said Quick. “It’s a real cultural shift.”
Posts tagged with "Perkins Eastman":
Perkins Eastman confirmed today that the global practice is merging with Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn and the firms will be consolidating their offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and China. When the merger is complete, the new firm - yet to be named - will have a total of nearly 600 employees, 500 from Perkins Eastman and 85 from EE&K. Steven Yates with Perkins Eastman says no major layoffs have taken place in the past nine months and the company is not planning any layoffs as part of the merger. Perkins Eastman is the designer behind Times Square's glowing red stairs and a mega-project in Queens while EE&K has been busy master planning Cleveland's waterfront. Anyone care to take a guess at the new firm's name?
The past ten years have seen an impressive amount of economic growth and infrastructural development in India, and the nation is becoming more and more a well established market for American architectural talent. This trend doesn't seem to be changing as we embark on a new decade. One sign of that is the September 2009 opening of an office in Mumbai by structural engineering firm Leslie E. Robertson Associates (LERA). Founded in 1923 in New York City, LERA has contributed its services to many of the city's iconic structures (such as the World Trade Center) and has designed buildings all around the world, but this will be its first foreign office. A release by the firm cited a "growing workload" and the need to "facilitate client relations" as key reasons for the opening. LERA will join a number of other American architecture firms that have recently opened branches in the subcontinent, including HOK and Perkins Eastman. See some of the projects LERA has worked on after the jump.
Today we got an email from the fine folks at Archphoto announcing that one of its trio of photographers, Paúl Rivera, has been featured in the current issue of the Japanese architecture magazine, A+U. The featured work was of the MASterworks award-winning TKTS Booth, including the above photo. In addition to being an unexpected and breathtaking view of the structure and surrounding environs, it made us realize something we hadn't yet about the much-talked about closure of Broadway in the square: While all those cars whizzing by may have been a pedestrian and congestion nightmare, they sure brought wonderful life to the countless photos that have come to define the Crossroads of the World.
We just got our invitation to the Municipal Art Society's annual MASterworks awards. Contained therein are the heretofore unannounced winners, as well. (You can find all four after the jump.) Sadly, the party is invite only, but it's at the new glassy, glamorous Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons, so if nothing else, you can wander by Tuesday night and press your face to the glass, making puppy-dog eyes at we revelers therein. It'll be the perfect Oliver Twist/recession moment. If you're lucky/pretty, we might even sneak you in the side door. Best New Building: The Standard Hotel, by Polshek Partnership (Read our feature here.) Best Restoration: The Lion House at the Bronx Zoo, FXFowle Best Renovation/Adaptive Resuse: Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Lyn Rice Architects Neighborhood Catalyst: Times Square TKTS Booth, Perkins Eastman/Choi Ropiha (Read more here.)
The opening yesterday in Father Duffy Square of the new TKTS booth—conceived 35 years before the current trend in pop-up venues—was attended by Mayor Bloomberg, Bernadette Peters, and loyal members of the 69th, if not the naked cowboy. Even the original designers of the red steps, Australians Tai Ropiha and John Choi, were on hand, although organizers were quick to call their competition winning design (best of 683 entries from 31 countries) of January 2000, just a concept. "They wrote the inspiring short story, we turned it into the movie," said Nicholas Leahy, the principal in charge from Perkins Eastman, the architects who took over the $19 million project from Choi Ropiha. The two Australians were just friends when they entered the Van Alen Institute-run competition, and now they are design partners of their own Sydney-based firm working primarily on residential, small-scale institutional, and urban planning projects in Australia and Asia. "It was a great experience," said Choi. "And we continue to approach our work by thinking beyond the site and beyond the brief to find the bigger meaning." In the spirit of the film-making metaphor, we asked Leahy what of the original design ended up on the cutting room floor. The solar-powered LED lights lining the stairs, he said, went "quick, right out the window" as did the idea of structuring the building out of resin. The final building is made almost entirely of glass, including structural beams visible behind the ticket windows under the stair—a signature touch of engineers Dewhurst McFarlane who collaborated on the job. As the military band warmed up and event organizers hustled everyone to their seats before it could rain, retired officers of Father Duffy's regiment, the 69th, lingered on the glass stairway that rises right behind the beloved chaplain Duffy's backside and that will be kept warm and de-iced—the stairs, that is—with thermal radiant heating. "Seems quite innovative", said 69er John Kuhlmann, "and it sure isn't the dead zone, it used to be."