Convention Center Riverfront Plaza, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
General Design: Merit Award | LaQuatra Bonci Associates
The David L. Lawrence Convention Center, designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects, was built in 2003 and held the title for the largest Gold LEED-rated building in the world. However, the riverfront landscape was left as a steep, non-traversable concrete slope that segregated the east and west ends of the downtown portion of the Allegheny River. After an extensive planning period and public process, the Convention Center Riverfront Plaza broke ground in 2009. It was opened to the public by the Sports and Exhibition Authority in 2011, completing the existing trail connection under the Convention Center, becoming a destination point and linking the park to downtown. The plaza also extends the existing Allegheny Riverfront Park, linking its opposite end to the popular Strip District, creating the final pedestrian connection along the river. The park provides recreational boat access as well as docking for water taxis and larger Gateway Clipper boats.