After winning first place in a national competition, ACLA ushered the design for this public park, adjacent to the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, through its opening day in 2012. The design respects and highlights the historic importance of the site as a central commons and breathes fresh life into what was a non-functioning brutalist plaza. After reconnecting the historic city grid that was destroyed during 1960’s-era ‘urban renewal’ efforts, the park once again serves the community as a central public gathering area.
Important design features such as a bioswale and native planting educate visitors about sustainability, while an interactive art installation activates the space and fosters a connection with the nearby Children’s Museum. Emphasizing species native to the waterways, woodlands, and meadows of Pittsburgh’s region, the planting design for Allegheny Public Square connects visitors with the experiential qualities of the local ecosystems while also processing the plaza’s stormwater. ACLA worked with a large team of designers and engineers to meet the unique challenges of realizing this park.
Collaboration with a public artist to develop the site-specific installation, fully integrated into the park, was an important aspect of the design process. The resulting art piece by Ned Kahn consists of a grid of 64 stainless steel poles that emit fog to cool on hot summer days. An ethereal hovering sphere floats above the park’s surface.