First-ever Pittsburgh Architecture Week to celebrate local design excellence | Pittsburgh City Paper

First-ever Pittsburgh Architecture Week to celebrate local design excellence

click to enlarge First-ever Pittsburgh Architecture Week to celebrate local design excellence
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
Frick Environmental Center

Pittsburgh is getting a new event celebrating the city’s unique architecture.

The inaugural Pittsburgh Architecture Week, hosted by AIA Pittsburgh, the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the Pittsburgh Architecture Foundation, will take place from Mon., Sept. 26 to Mon., Oct. 2. Organizers say they plan for it to be “a yearly public celebration to increase awareness and appreciation of architectural design while fostering the recognition of the vital role design plays in our community and in our daily lives,” according to a press release.

The week-long event will feature 16 programs produced in collaboration with 14 partner organizations, including Preservation Pittsburgh, Assemble, and the Urban Land Institute, and includes family and kid-friendly activities.

“Other cities celebrate the power and excellence of design, and I thought, 'Why not Pittsburgh?'” says Michelle Fanzo, executive director of AIA Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Architecture Foundation.

“Pittsburgh has a breadth and quality of architecture found in few U.S. cities — from the Fort Pitt Block House to cutting-edge living buildings like the Frick Environmental Center to innovative adaptive reuse like MuseumLab,” Fanzo says in the release. “We want to develop a culture in our region that values design excellence in everyday life like you see in Chicago and Los Angeles.”

Fanzo tells Pittsburgh City Paper that she hopes the week will create space for “a conversation in our city about what design excellence means to people.” This conversation is vital, Fanzo says, because “we haven't had a lot of discussion about architecture or the built environment, while so much change in our built environment is going on [in Pittsburgh].”

“Buildings and the design of interior spaces and public spaces physically, emotionally, and psychologically have an impact on human beings,” she says. The line-up of Architecture Week programs, including an already sold-out talk by an MIT professor of planning and urban studies titled “If Cities Were Built By Women,” will explore the impact of architecture on the human experience.

Festivities will also include the annual Design Pittsburgh awards presentation, featuring the reveal of the People’s Choice Award winners. Individuals are invited to vote for their favorite architectural projects to win a People’s Choice Award until Mon., Sept. 26 at 11:59 p.m.

Fanzo says that she hopes one day people will think of appreciating the city’s architecture alongside cheering for our sports teams, eating Primanti Brothers sandwiches, and roaming our unique topography as an essential Pittsburgh activity.

Pittsburgh Architecture Week. Sept. 26 - Oct. 2. Free.

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