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.
Greening Slack Plaza, Charleston, West Virginia
Analysis & Planning: Merit Award | Origin 4 Design
Greening America’s Capitals is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help state capitals develop an implementable vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green building and green infrastructure strategies. Charleston applied for assistance from the Greening America’s Capitals program to help improve Slack Plaza, in the heart of downtown, with innovative greening strategies and improvements to public transportation. The plaza was created as a bus transportation hub in the mid-1980’s, and soon after was plagued with crime and the resulted in disinvestment by the city. Despite the current negative perception of the space, the plaza has the potential to serve as a critical link between a successful business district and the city’s civic and transportation hub.
Rivers Casino Riverfront Park, Pittsburgh, PA
General Design: Honor Award | Strada
Rivers Casino Riverfront Park is a major new riverfront destination in Pittsburgh. The Casino provides the backdrop, and its facade was designed in conjunction with the park. The location of this entertainment and dining complex, formerly a steel mill site, offers panoramic views of the skyline and the river basin; therefore, a primary design goal was to take advantage of the spectacular setting with a new public space and environmental stewardship in mind.
Because of the decades-long public interest and investment in the reclamation of Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, there was intense public concern for the quality of this project. From the project’s inception, planning and urban design efforts were focused on integrating this challenging building type into the dramatic urban setting. A major design objective was to give human scale to the project, with particular focus on the areas of the site where pedestrian interaction takes place.
Washington Crossing National Cemetery, Bucks County, PA
General Design: Honor Award | Cairone and Kaupp, Incorporated
With the increase of burials in the greater Philadelphia area for Veterans and their families, the Veterans Administration (VA) selected a site in Washington Crossing, Bucks County, PA for a new cemetery development. It was the VA’s intention that integrating scientific and technical knowledge with each site’s natural characteristics would support the future cemetery’s functional requirements while simultaneously respecting its vernacular site context. In the case of the Washington Crossing National Cemetery (WCNC), after detailed site analysis, it became apparent that an agricultural as opposed to a more formal, traditional design model should influence its final form.
In the development of the cemetery, inspiration was taken from the local Bucks County landscapes. Many of the forms are reminiscent of agricultural ponds, hedgerows or copses. These landscape models seek to create a new paradigm in the development of our national cemeteries in terms of their environmental, social and economic benefits.
Private Residence, Avalon, New Jersey
Residential Design: Merit Award | ThinkGreen LLC
The design team was commissioned to ecologically meld a 1970’s style residential beach house with protected primary beach dune and habitat. The pre-construction landscape consisted of concrete paving and gravel. In conjunction with the site improvements, major house renovations opened opportunities to reorganize the existing site circulation and parking, relocate the main entry court and introduce green roofs above the entry vestibule addition and garage to gym retrofit. A swimming pool, spa, sunning deck, shade structure, green screen and indoor/outdoor exercise gymnasium are a few of the site elements we were challenged with incorporating into a compact site. Green roofs, vegetated swales and a subsurface storm water cistern collect rain water for re-distribution through drip irrigation in establishing the native plantings. The plant palette was documented by researching existing native plantings within the adjacent prototypical barrier beach dune and selecting plants which aesthetically and functionally worked best for the site.
A Plan for Compatible Economic Development of the Middle Schuylkill, Berks, Chester, & Montgomery Counties, PA
Analysis & Planning: Honor Award | Carter van Dyke Associates
A major goal of the Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative (SH CLI) is to support the economic vitality of the region by implementing sustainable land use, open space and greenway planning and practices, and encouraging community and economic development initiatives that are compatible with the scenic, cultural, historic, recreational, and natural resources.
The Plan for Compatible Economic Development of the Middle Schuylkill was developed to promote the area within the SH CLI from Valley Forge to Reading as a hallmark cultural, recreational, and natural heritage destination. The project was intended to serve as a demonstration of how regional assets can be conserved by developing a sustainable economy based upon place-based recreational and cultural tourism. For example, one of the goals of the CLI is to preserve the Hopewell Big Woods of 73,000 acres—the largest unbroken forest between Washington D.C. and New York City and of global significance.
PHS Pops Up, Philadelphia, PA
General Design: Merit Award | Lamba Associates Inc
Located in Center City Philadelphia, this 32,000 SF experimental temporary installation, (June 13 – Oct. 24, 2012) transformed a vacant lot into a green oasis and a venue for sustainability education.
Goals for the project include:
1. Create a model for the revitalization of vacant urban lots.
2. Create an attractive, educational and multipurpose public space focused on community education.
3. Demonstrate ways of using plants in inhospitable urban conditions.
4. Promote the benefits of local food production.
5. Create a resource for community gardening, nutrition education, conservation and sustainability.
6. Create partnerships among the city, corporations, local chefs, landscape architects, academics and urban farmers aimed at improving the health and well being of the larger community.
7. Maximize the potential for various elements to be pulled up, dismantled, moved and reused somewhere else at the end of this temporary installation.