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African-American Cultural Center Design Competition

The proposed African-American Cultural Center of Greater Pittsburgh has authorized an Architectural Design Competition for a new building to be erected in the block of Liberty Avenue between Smithfield Street and Cherry Way. Part of the block serves as a parking lot where the old Nixon Theatre once stood, and several buildings of the late 19th Century stand there including the Bartek Tailor Building of 1876 and the Romanesque Zimmerman Building of around 1890.

The three architectural firms that had been invited to compete are the Freelon Group of Durham, NC Ai of San Francisco, and Moody Nolan of Columbus, OH.

The president of Landmarks, Arthur Ziegler, has briefed the group about the quality of the remaining buildings and expressed the desire that they be retained in whole or in part or in some way respected and memorialized as
part of a dramatic new building. He also pointed out that across Cherry Way are a triumvirate of early modern Art Deco buildings: the Federal Reserve, the Gulf Building and the Koppers Building.

The Center has written into the guidelines the request that the historic preservation concerns be taken into account, with the explicit request that “the conservation and/or preservation of existing buildings on the site be
specifically addressed.”

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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