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Apprentices Present Vacant Lot Designs

A vacant lot in Homestead was the site of a real-world design challenge for high school apprentices in architecture.

“I got to go through the architectural process in a practical, real-world scenario. I got to view historic architecture and learn about the value of preserving it.”

“It helped me understand the life and schooling of an architect. It helped me decide if this is something I would want to do with my life.”

“This program taught me everything I know so far about architecture. It taught me so much I now feel confident combining it with my mathematical and artistic skills to start my career path in college this upcoming year.” ––Comments from Apprentices, Fall 2015

PHLF’s longest-running education program is the Architecture Apprenticeship, offered through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. High school students who are interested in architecture, urban planning, and historic preservation may apply to the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) and are selected to participate in five, full-day sessions that PHLF plans and leads, September through December.

This year, educator Samantha Carter from CMU’s School of Architecture and architect Paul Tellers assisted PHLF’s Louise Sturgess in teaching the program. “The students were introduced to the design process,” said Paul, “and were able to tour Homestead, CMU, and downtown Pittsburgh, where they visited Urban Design Associates.”

The apprentices developed their design ideas for a vacant lot at 307-09 East Eighth Avenue in Homestead with guidance from CMU’s School of Architecture and professional architects. On December 9, they presented their ideas to a jury of professionals including Borough Manager Ian McMeans, Mon Valley Initiative Representative Stephanie Eson, and architect Raymond Bowman.

Ideas included a dance studio and cafe; music and coffee shop (“Strings & Wings”); realty office and apartments; a restaurant and event space; a building devoted to food, music, and art; an arcade and ice-cream parlor with mixed-income apartments; a community center for the arts; a grocery store with a rooftop greenhouse; a medical center, food shelter, and homeless shelter; an indoor market with a rooftop garden; a roller skating rink and ice cream parlor; a community learning center, including library, studio, and gallery spaces; and a restaurant and entertainment venue.

“The students invested a great deal of thought and effort in developing their design ideas,” said Louise Sturgess. “Any one of the concepts would be wonderful to develop and would benefit the Homestead community.”

See the various design ideas the students presented in the photo gallery below.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

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Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633