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Comment Archives: stories: Arts: Architecture

Re: “The new East Liberty Transit Center is a mixed success

I'd like to point out that in spite of substantial city, county, state, and federal money, including URA, there was no requirement for affordable housing placed on the developer. When will Pittsburgh wake up to the realities of the 21st century with a requirement that if public entities subsidize a developer, some percentage of affordable housing should hbe mandated?

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Jim Altes on 04/21/2016 at 10:17 AM

Re: “The new East Liberty Transit Center is a mixed success

RRM - Note there are stairs from the pedestrian bridge to both the inbound and outbound platforms. The ramps are necessarily sloped at <5% to accommodate ADA standards.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Paul Alessio on 04/20/2016 at 4:14 PM

Re: “The new East Liberty Transit Center is a mixed success

I'm not a fan of the switchbacks you need to walk down in order to get to the inbound side. I wish there was a direct stair case to the crosswalk. Sometimes those extra seconds you spend zigzagging make the difference when catching a bus.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by RRM on 04/20/2016 at 11:22 AM

Re: “Are new plans for the Lower Hill for building, or for show?

So a couple points. First, McCormack Baron Salazar and the Penguins actually jointly hired BIG, and they are saying they intend to start building on the plan next year.

Second, BIG specifically addressed the "this looks too expensive for Pittsburgh" observation. They consulted with a bunch of construction, landscaping, and so on firms (they listed west 8, atelier ten, massaro, graves design group, la quatra bonci associates, mongalo-winston consulting, michael baker international, and sota construction services), and they explicitly said they knew it looked ambitious but that they had designed it to be deliverable on the budget given.

Together, all this implies to me that BIG's plan is at the minimum a serious proposal for the initial residential phase, which McCormack Baron Salazar has contracted to develop. The lower portion is probably more speculative, but that is OK with me--it actually has some questionable elements, and in any event it might well be best in the long run for someone else to put a different spin on the lower portions.

So yes, maybe this will stop in the middle--but it may well get that far first.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Brian Tucker-Hill on 12/09/2015 at 2:28 PM

Re: “It's time to tear down Mount Washington's illuminated sign

I think I remember this from the 1960s.

Maybe it's time it should go.

Mount Washington has been abused enough.

Posted by Ralph Adam Cram and Jamester on 12/04/2015 at 1:28 AM

Re: “A proposed addition to an Oakland landmark prompts questions about the redevelopment process

If you don't have talent equal to Ralph Adams Cram, Charles Klauder, Goodhue, Egan and Prindeville, or Henry Hornbostel, you no business building anything in Oakland—or Pittsburgh!

Pittsburgh (and the world) has no use for "developers." Pittsburgh deserves only the best architects the world has to offer. Are there any real architects anymore?

"Development" is a useless 19th- and 20th-century urban disease spreading into the 21st century. We need a vaccine desperately. The world needs highly trained architects who care about their communities and who have the talent and character to inspire those who live in and look upon their creations.

Posted by RAC and James on 12/04/2015 at 1:20 AM

Re: “A proposed addition to an Oakland landmark prompts questions about the redevelopment process

It's hideous.

It's unworthy not only of Oakland; it's unworthy of Pittsburgh.

It's devoid of talent, integrity, intelligence, and beauty.

It's merely typical, banal, lifeless "development."

Posted by James van Trump and Ralph Adams Cram on 12/04/2015 at 1:08 AM

Re: “With a strong community-input process, a North Side residential project moves forward

Totally out of place. Federal St. has some of the newer condos, but this does not mix in with the architecture of Allegheny City.

Something is better than nothing, but it's a poke in the eye to the historical (and yes, some rundown) characteristics of AC.

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by JA on 11/09/2015 at 3:02 PM

Re: “With a strong community-input process, a North Side residential project moves forward

The Garden Theatre was sold over 10 yrs ago
They even went before the Supreme Court to I believe get immenent domain. I heard the original developers walked away because of financial problems. I don't know what's true but I think we need to have some concensus and get this redevelopment moving.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by tymxeluv on 11/05/2015 at 12:23 AM

Re: “With a strong community-input process, a North Side residential project moves forward

Back when I was a kid and would drive past the blighted Garden Theater, I used to think, someday I will see this place renovated. That was nearly 30 years ago now. I'm starting to question whether this project will ever be completed. As Elvis would say, "A little less conversation, a little more action". Please!

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Tony DeCarlo on 11/04/2015 at 3:53 PM

Re: “With a strong community-input process, a North Side residential project moves forward

Let's hope there are no appeals. Any more delay even by a few months could lead to another existing structure deteriorating beyond saving.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Craig Melichar on 11/04/2015 at 10:35 AM

Re: “PNC’s new office tower is green — but just how green?

So it is very environmentally friendly as advertised, but you needed something to complain about it, so you criticized it on completely different, nebulous grounds. Got it.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Pete on 10/07/2015 at 6:57 PM

Re: “PNC’s new office tower is green — but just how green?

Thank you for your kind words about Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes, The CSL is not the only building in the world to achieve the Living Building Challenge, more rigorous than Platinum LEED as you suggested, but it is the first in the world to achieve all four of the highest and most rigorous green building certifications: LEED Platinum, WELL Platinum (healthy to live/work in), Sustainable SITES (landscape) and the Living Building Challenge. It functions as efficiently as a flower, as it is net zero water and net zero energy. We congratulate PNC for being so very progressive in its green building approach and believe that it is the only LEED Platinum multi-use high rise in the world. PNC's accomplishment will put Pittsburgh on the map for leading sustainability initiatives once again!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Connie George 1 on 10/07/2015 at 2:56 PM

Re: “In redevelopment of the Civic Arena site, public subsidies, community-benefits agreements remain unresolved

I think that the thing that continues to allow these types of things to happen is people's apathy. In order for things to change, more people must get involved and raise their voice saying "Enough is enough!" Every one just sits back shaking their heads while the rich keep trampling on those who don't have as much.

Posted by Jenny Jean Crawford on 10/07/2015 at 2:48 PM
Posted by Martin Aurand on 09/21/2015 at 2:38 PM
Posted by Joann Crater Aurand on 09/19/2015 at 3:49 PM

Re: “In redevelopment of the Civic Arena site, public subsidies, community-benefits agreements remain unresolved

Walter Hood was originally commissioned for a public artwork, "Curtain Call" that lent green water infrastructure credentials to the Penguins' application for LEED certification of the Consol Energy Center. The project, well-loved by the Hill District community, the greater arts community and private foundations, has not been built, although slated for 2011 construction on the Sports Exhibition Authority web site. "What happened to the planned public art project near Consol Energy Center?" will provide interested readers with more insight at http://www.post-gazette.com/local/2015/07/12/What-happened-to-the-planned-public-art-project-near-Consol-Energy-Center/stories/201507120074 "Curtain Call," a name borrowed from August Wilson, would have honored the heroes and history of the Hill District. A great many District residents, with assistance from Terri Baltimore at the Hill House, have already invested their time and participation into the project. Adding insult to injury the Penguins said they "did not have the money" for "Curtain Call," but somehow came up with an estimated 1.5 million or more for the cast bronze statues of hockey players installed just outside the Consol building.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by PGH4ART on 09/17/2015 at 10:06 AM

Re: “In redevelopment of the Civic Arena site, public subsidies, community-benefits agreements remain unresolved

Thank you for getting to the heart of the matter.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Carolyn P. Speranza on 09/16/2015 at 12:37 PM

Re: “Why can't Pittsburgh's building boom produce better buildings?

Thanks for this, Charles.

I'm glad that city planning has been so pro-development. That fact has allowed the city's economic and cultural growth to spur a building boom. But our architects aren't making it worthwhile.

The types of buildings we are seeing are far less than what the city deserves. For a place with a history of collapse, it pains me to see this level of nearsightedness. It was a misguided vision that filled downtown with department stores, ignorance that put towers in East Liberty, and now negligence that's lining Penn Avenue with Alucobond and Dryvit.

This stuff should be better. And not just better for now, but better for the next 50, 100 years. Do we think about what some of these building will look like in 20 years? or whether they will be standing in 50? Their aesthetic role within our urban fabric is, at best, unclear and, at worst, debasing. Their energetic agenda is that of throwaway objects. They are disposable cameras; they take pretty pictures, but then we toss then. I am no classicist, but will we never see another Union Trust, a PAA? Sadly, one of the best civic buildings this city has produced in the past 20 years doesn't have a roof and we play baseball inside it.

This city is full of great architects. Yeah, the budgets are tight. Yeah, it's not New York. But don't we harp on the merit of constraints? Can't we build well within them? "I have never been forced to accept compromises but I have willingly accepted constraints." Charles Eames made it work.

City planning exists as a check against the motivations of developers; they have license to speak on behalf of the community. I'm glad to see them taking a stance about the future of this city. Our architects should follow in kind. The work they do matters for Pittsburgh's future. Let's put on our Big City Pants and do something of meaning.

Posted by David Kennedy on 09/13/2015 at 1:29 PM

Re: “With a new owner, and alterations under discussion, much-maligned Allegheny Center Mall faces the future

The developer has committed to spending 200 million to revitalize the building. I would say that's much different then investing as little as possible.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Justin on 07/14/2015 at 10:21 PM

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