Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture
has won the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh's
"Design Competition of Ideas" for Allegheny Square Park. Part of neighborhood-wide revitalization efforts, the project includes a phased plan to reconnect East Ohio St. through Allegheny Center and later, Federal St.
“One of the pointed elements was the relationship of this park to the commons that wraps around the neighborhoods of the Northside. This park should be thought of in the broader context of the whole commons,” says Chris Siefert, with the Children’s Museum. The underutilized park currently houses brick and concrete surfaces, minimal green space and an inoperable fountain. Plans also call for upgrading nearby right of ways.
“There will be softer green spaces in a more social setting, balanced with some hard surfaces for events that require tents and more durable surfacing. The eventual design will be flexible, to support large groups or a family picnic,” adds Siefert, who says the design will take shape during a “very involved community process.” Responding to the project’s desire to create a “green” park, the winning design also calls for the use of bioswales, meadow grasses, non-toxic materials, native trees and indigenous plants, and solar collectors. The park also offers opportunities to educate visitors about water conservation and storm water management.
“There will be a creative layer of public art that may manifest itself in the park’s furnishings, such as benches and interactive foundations," says Siefert. Next steps for the design of the one-acre park include a community process in partnership with neighborhood groups, citywide stakeholders and Northside cultural institutions. “Ideally, we could open as early as 2009.”
Writer: Jennifer Baron
Source: Chris Siefert, Children’s Museum of PittsburghPhoto courtesy of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh